Rutgers overcomes 18-point deficit, beats Northwestern in OT
PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Geo Baker had 25 points, six rebounds and five assists as Rutgers overcame an 18-point deficit and beat Northwestern 77-73 in overtime on Sunday night and improve to 16-0 at home this season.
Baker hit step-back 3-pointer from the right wing to tie the game at 66-all with 1:15 left in regulation and send the game to overtime, where Rutgers (17-7, 8-5 Big Ten) would take a lead for the first time. Baker had 16 of his points in the second half, and seven in overtime.
Northwestern (6-16, 1-11) jumped to an early 10-point lead less than four minutes in. The Wildcats made it 21-7 following a second-chance layup by Pete Nance with 10:52 left in the first half and the lead would balloon to 18 points a couple of minutes later on back-to-back Miller Kopp 3-pointers, assisted by Robbie Beran, forcing Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell to take a timeout with 8:08 left. From there, Rutgers chipped away at the lead, cutting it to 38-27 at the half.
Northwestern would lead by as many as 16 early in the second half. Rutgers wouldn’t cut it to single digits until Caleb McConnell hit a jumper from the right wing to make it 63-54 with 6:11 to go and would come storming back from there.
Boo Buie had 19 points and Kopp had 16 points for Northwestern.
Akwasi Yeboah had 13 points and Ron Harper Jr. added 10 for Rutgers.
Rutgers’ Jacob Young returned after serving a one-game suspension after a driving while intoxicated. Young averages 8.5 points per game. He had two points on 1-of-5 shooting.
Northwestern was 11-of-23 from beyond the arc, well above the season average of 32%. Meantime, Rutgers was 4 of 20 from 3-point range, missing its first 10 3-point shots before Baker hit one about three minutes into the second half.
Northwestern: The Wildcats, who have lost seven in a row and 12 of their last 13, find themselves firmly at the bottom of the Big Ten.
Rutgers: After being picked to finish 12th in the 14-team Big Ten, the Scarlet Knights are hoping their dream season will end with their first NCAA Tournament berth since 1991. However, their only road win of the season is at Nebraska. Rutgers could use a signature road win to boost its NCAA Tournament resume.
Northwestern: Host Michigan on Wednesday.
Rutgers: At Ohio State Wednesday.
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