Northwestern (22-10, 10-8 B1G) won is first Big Ten Tournament game in a blowout and advanced to the tournament quarterfinals with an 83-61 win over Rutgers (15-18, 3-15 B1G) on Thursday. The Wildcats will play in the Verizon Center again on Friday night, facing third-seeded Maryland.
A 31-0 run (yes, 31-0) in the first half gave the ‘Cats the momentum they needed to bring home the win. The Scarlet Knights went 10 and a half minutes without scoring, and Vic Law led NU, contributing 10 of his 16 points on the game in the first period.
With 6:11 left before halftime, Sanjay Lumpkin threw down a dunk that put the Wildcats up by 28, and despite a three-pointer that Rutgers responded with, Northwestern maintained its rhythm and stayed ahead by 24.
Scottie Lindsey also had 16 points, and Bryant McIntosh and Dererk Pardon both contributed 13. Arguably the most exciting stat line of the night, however, was Charlie Hall’s two rebounds. Yes, you read that correctly. Charlie Hall played in the final minute of the game, touched the ball multiple times, and his parents were there to witness it all.
In the second half, the Scarlet Knights only got within 15 points of NU. McIntosh had multiple layups and floaters which, combined with threes from Gavin Skelly and Isiah Brown, sealed the game.
The ‘Cats aren’t even done with the Big Ten Tournament yet, but all eyes are turned toward Selection Sunday and the NCAA Tournament. The win over Rutgers likely further solidified Northwestern’s first ever bid to the Big Dance, but the final verdict will be announced on Sunday, March 12 at 4:30 p.m. CST.