Is this what rock-bottom feels like?
Northwestern (15-12, 6-8 Big Ten) lost to Rutgers (13-15, 3-12).
My goodness. Let’s start that again. Northwestern lost to Rutgers in overtime in shocking and incredibly depressing fashion. Corey Sanders was the hero for Rutgers, hitting a game-tying three with under 10 seconds to play and scoring a game-high 30 points.
Um...yeah. The game was low-scoring and lacked much of a rhythm. Rutgers' second-leading scorer Deshawn Freeman, despite being active, did not play in the game, and Bryant McIntosh injured his arm; he didn't play the final 16:37 of the second half and all of overtime. The NU offense looked dismal in the second half and overtime.
Scottie Lindsey led the Wildcats with 19 points on 20 shots, and Dererk Pardon scored 12 points on seven shots in the loss.
The Wildcats got off to a hot start in the early going, knocking down four of their first seven shots to take an 8-2 lead and force a Steve Pikiell timeout.
Northwestern's zone forced Rutgers into a bunch of outside shots in the game's opening minutes, and the Scarlet Knights couldn't hit them for a while. Threes from Geo Baker and Sanders cut the NU tied the game at 10 with 14:27 to play. With Jordan Ash out, Isiah Brown got some meaningful minutes, but didn't do a whole lot.
Offense in general came at a premium in the first half. NU shot the ball well enough early, but struggled with turnovers. Eventually, the Northwestern lead ballooned, by way of Dererk Pardon and Aaron Falzon. Pardon and Falzon combined to make their first eight field goals, pacing NU to a 10-point lead with seven minutes to play in the opening frame.
The teams traded baskets toward the end of the half, and Northwestern led 33-24 at the break. Everything seemed fine. Northwestern's offense came out cold in the second half, though, scoring two points in the first four-and-a-half minutes and allowing the Scarlet Knights back into the the game.
Two threes from Scottie Lindsey pushed the lead back up to 11 with 11:25 left. Northwestern's offense mostly sputtered after McIntosh went down, and Rutgers cut the lead to one with just over three minutes remaining. Lindsey & Co. couldn't muster enough to cross the finish line, however.
Anthony Gaines hit a big three to push the lead to six with just over a minute left. Once again, everything seemed fine. However, a few NU misses gave Rutgers a shot to tie the game with 18.4 second remaining. With the clock ticking down, Sanders buried a three to tie the game with just over six seconds on the clock. After calling timeout with 1.2 seconds left, Gavin Skelly had a great look on an out-of-bounds play, but couldn't convert. Overtime it was.
Northwestern couldn't get anything going in overtime, and Rutgers hit a few jump shots to take a lead. Quite honestly, it was awful. Rutgers ended the game on a 17-2 run. Most of the Inside NU staff blacked out sometime around Sanders’s jumper to put Rutgers up five.
I don’t understand.