Northwestern tops Rutgers, secures No. 2 Big Ten seed

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Brooks Barnhizer had a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds and Boo Buie collected each of his 14 points after halftime as visiting Northwestern stopped a three-game losing streak with a 65-53 victory against Rutgers on Sunday night in Piscataway, N.J.

Northwestern (21-10, 12-8 Big Ten) secured the No. 2 seed in next week’s conference tournament in Chicago and will receive a double-bye into Friday’s quarterfinals. Losers of six of eight, Rutgers (18-13, 10-10) will be the No. 9 seed.

The Wildcats started the second half on an 11-3 run to seize control of the Big Ten regular-season finale and avenge a three-point home loss to the Scarlet Knights on Jan. 11. Northwestern led by as many as 15 points.

Barnhizer scored seven points during the surge on his way to a 7-for-12 shooting effort. He has scored in double figures in five consecutive games.

Ty Berry scored 12 points to go with seven rebounds. Matthew Nicholson made it a quartet of double-figure scorers for the Wildcats with 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting.

Rutgers struggled to 36.4 percent shooting, including a 2-for-17 showing (11.8 percent) from 3-point range.

Cliff Omoruyi (14 points) and Derek Simpson (12) both finished in double figures for Rutgers, while Cam Spencer added nine points. Caleb McConnell grabbed a team-best eight rebounds, but the Scarlet Knights were minus-six under the boards overall.

Northwestern (17) committed one more turnover than Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights outscored the Wildcats 36-26 in the paint and 18-5 on the fast break.

Northwestern took a 25-21 lead into halftime, withstanding a 6-0 run from the Scarlet Knights to end the first half.

The teams combined to shoot 20-for-59 (33.9 percent) before intermission. Barnhizer led the Wildcats with eight first-half points, while Spencer topped Rutgers with six.

A slight delay halted the game late in the first half when smoke spouted from a scoreboard speaker at Jersey Mike’s Arena.

–Field Level Media

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