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Rutgers rallies for 59-56 win over Northwestern

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) Geo Baker considers a home loss to Northwestern last month one of the low points of Rutgers' season.

The sophomore guard was determined to make the rematch on Wednesday night a highlight.

Baker and Montez Mathis each had 12 points, Eugene Omoruyi added 11 and Rutgers rallied in the second half and then hung on for a 59-56 victory over Northwestern.

Baker also had five rebounds and five assists as the Scarlet Knights (12-12, 5-9 in the Big Ten) snapped a three-game losing streak.

''They came in our place and we heard them celebrating after the game,'' Baker said of the 65-57 loss on Jan. 18. ''That one kind of hurt, so we wanted to come in and do the same type of thing.''

Rutgers managed its second conference road win of the season despite shooting just 8 for 15 from the free-throw line and 3 for 16 on 3-pointers. The Scarlet Knights did shoot 48 percent from the field in the second half following a slow start.

Northwestern (12-12, 3-10) has dropped five straight. Vic Law had 17 points and A.J. Turner added 11 to lead the Wildcats.

Three days after blowing a big lead late in a one-point loss at No. 21 Iowa, Northwestern again couldn't make enough plays down the stretch.

''It's frustrating,'' coach Chris Collins said. ''I really feel for the guys. Their attitudes have been great. They're working really hard. Nobody likes losing. It's not a fun feeling. You have to roll up your sleeves and find a way.

''That's two in a row now. Iowa, where you had a lead late, and tonight, we had the ball at the rim to take the lead with 10 seconds left.''

Neither team could get much going offensively in the first half, especially from distance. The result was a tie at 22 at halftime.

The Scarlet Knights picked up their pace offensively early in the second half. Ron Harper Jr. converted a 3-point play with 11 minutes left to give Rutgers a 42-40 edge. Leading 42-41, Rutgers ran off seven straight points for a 49-41 advantage with six minutes to play. Omoruyi had five points during the run, including a 3-pointer to cap it.

Meanwhile, Northwestern's offensive struggles continued. The Wildcats managed just one point in a 5 1/2-minute stretch and went nearly 6 1/2 minutes without a field goal as Rutgers stretched its lead.

The Scarlet Knights had a chance to put the game away, but couldn't score consistently enough down the stretch to do so.

Law's 3-pointer with 1:04 remaining trimmed the deficit to 55-53.

Myles Johnson answered at the other end down low and was foul by Dererk Pardon with 37.7 seconds left. Johnson, though, missed the free throw - Rutgers' seventh free-throw miss to that point - to make it 57-53.

Law hit another 3-pointer with 18.2 seconds to make it a one-point game. Northwestern then got the ball back on a five-second call as Rutgers tried to inbound the ball following a timeout.

Law worked into the lane for a potential game-winner, but his eight-footer in traffic with 13 seconds to go hit off the front rim and the Scarlet Knights came up with the loose ball.

Omoruyi was fouled with 9.2 seconds and hit both free throws for a three-point lead. Law's 30-foot attempt at the buzzer missed badly.

''Gene made some big ones,'' Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said of Omoruyi. ''We figured out a way to make a couple more down the stretch, a couple finishes.''

BIG PICTURE

Rutgers: The young Scarlet Knights seemingly are improving every game and no longer are Big Ten bottom dwellers.

Northwestern: Despite his final numbers, Law had another rough shooting night, going 6 for 16 from the field. The Wildcats struggle when he doesn't score consistently.

UP NEXT

Rutgers: Host No. 21 Iowa Saturday night.

Northwestern: At Nebraska Saturday night.

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Key Players
Min. Per Game
Pts. Per Game
Ast. Per Game
Reb. Per Game
Field Goal %
Three Point %
Free Throw %
  Defensive rebound by Caleb McConnell 0.0
  Vic Law missed 3-pt. jump shot 2.0
+ 1 Eugene Omoruyi made 2nd of 2 free throws 9.0
+ 1 Eugene Omoruyi made 1st of 2 free throws 9.0
  Personal foul on Vic Law 9.0
  Offensive rebound by Rutgers 9.0
  Ron Harper Jr. missed driving layup, blocked by A.J. Turner 9.0
  Defensive rebound by Ron Harper Jr. 11.0
  Vic Law missed running Jump Shot 13.0
  5-second inbounding violation turnover on Rutgers 18.0
+ 3 Vic Law made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by A.J. Turner 18.0
Team Stats
Points 59 56
Field Goals 24-58 (41.4%) 20-55 (36.4%)
3-Pointers 3-16 (18.8%) 7-23 (30.4%)
Free Throws 8-15 (53.3%) 9-15 (60.0%)
Total Rebounds 44 30
Offensive 9 4
Defensive 31 21
Team 4 5
Assists 10 16
Steals 5 6
Blocks 1 3
Turnovers 14 8
Fouls 16 17
Technicals 1 1
12 PTS, 5 REB, 5 AST
17 PTS, 3 REB, 4 AST
12T
away team logo Rutgers 12-12 223759
home team logo Northwestern 12-12 223456
Team Stats
away team logo Rutgers 12-12 67.9 PPG 42.2 RPG 12.6 APG
home team logo Northwestern 12-12 65.9 PPG 37.1 RPG 14.1 APG
Key Players
23
M. Mathis G 8.5 PPG 2.9 RPG 1.1 APG 37.6 FG%
4
V. Law F 15.0 PPG 6.4 RPG 3.0 APG 39.6 FG%
Top Scorers
M. Mathis G 12 PTS 6 REB 0 AST
V. Law F 17 PTS 3 REB 4 AST
41.4 FG% 36.4
18.8 3PT FG% 30.4
53.3 FT% 60.0
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
G. Baker 12 5 5 5/11 1/3 1/1 2 31 2 0 4 1 4
M. Mathis 12 6 0 5/12 0/5 2/3 2 29 0 0 3 1 5
E. Omoruyi 11 7 0 4/12 1/3 2/3 2 29 0 0 5 2 5
R. Harper Jr. 7 2 3 2/6 0/1 3/5 4 25 0 0 0 0 2
S. Doorson 4 5 0 2/3 0/0 0/0 1 19 1 0 0 2 3
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
G. Baker 12 5 5 5/11 1/3 1/1 2 31 2 0 4 1 4
M. Mathis 12 6 0 5/12 0/5 2/3 2 29 0 0 3 1 5
E. Omoruyi 11 7 0 4/12 1/3 2/3 2 29 0 0 5 2 5
R. Harper Jr. 7 2 3 2/6 0/1 3/5 4 25 0 0 0 0 2
S. Doorson 4 5 0 2/3 0/0 0/0 1 19 1 0 0 2 3
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
M. Johnson 6 4 0 3/3 0/0 0/3 2 21 0 1 1 1 3
C. McConnell 5 6 0 2/4 1/2 0/0 2 22 1 0 0 0 6
P. Kiss 2 3 1 1/5 0/2 0/0 1 10 0 0 1 1 2
I. Thiam 0 0 0 0/1 0/0 0/0 0 4 1 0 0 0 0
S. Carter 0 2 1 0/1 0/0 0/0 0 10 0 0 0 1 1
J. Young - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Downes - - - - - - - - - - - - -
L. Nathan - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Doucoure - - - - - - - - - - - - -
N. Brooks - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 59 40 10 24/58 3/16 8/15 16 200 5 1 14 9 31
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
V. Law 17 3 4 6/16 2/7 3/5 4 28 1 0 2 0 3
R. Taylor 9 3 1 3/9 1/2 2/2 2 26 2 0 1 0 3
D. Pardon 6 3 4 3/5 0/0 0/0 3 39 0 0 1 0 3
A. Gaines 5 6 2 1/5 0/3 3/6 1 34 2 0 1 1 5
B. Benson 2 5 1 1/3 0/1 0/0 1 22 0 2 0 2 3
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
V. Law 17 3 4 6/16 2/7 3/5 4 28 1 0 2 0 3
R. Taylor 9 3 1 3/9 1/2 2/2 2 26 2 0 1 0 3
D. Pardon 6 3 4 3/5 0/0 0/0 3 39 0 0 1 0 3
A. Gaines 5 6 2 1/5 0/3 3/6 1 34 2 0 1 1 5
B. Benson 2 5 1 1/3 0/1 0/0 1 22 0 2 0 2 3
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
A. Turner 11 1 4 4/10 2/5 1/2 3 26 1 1 2 0 1
A. Falzon 6 1 0 2/4 2/4 0/0 2 16 0 0 1 0 1
M. Kopp 0 2 0 0/2 0/1 0/0 1 7 0 0 0 0 2
R. Greer 0 1 0 0/1 0/0 0/0 0 2 0 0 0 1 0
J. Ash - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Hall - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Malnati - - - - - - - - - - - - -
P. Nance - - - - - - - - - - - - -
R. Young - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 56 25 16 20/55 7/23 9/15 17 200 6 3 8 4 21