After scoring 21 points tonight, Nigel Johnson has now tallied at least 20 points in back-to-back games and for the fifth time this season. The junior also tied his career-high with five made 3-pointers. In the Big Ten Tournament, Johnson combined for 42 points on 12-of-25 shooting (8-of-13 3FG).
Sophomore Corey Sanders scored 14 points, his 22nd game this season with at least 10 points. Sanders also tied a career-high with two blocks.
Freshman Issa Thiam scored nine points against the Wildcats, falling just two points short of his career- high. Thiam also tied his career-high with three made 3-pointers and went 5-of-10 from 3-point range in the Big Ten Tournament.
The Wildcats shot .600 from the field vs. Rutgers, their best performance of the season and the program’s best-ever mark in Big Ten Tournament play. Northwestern hit 14-of-20 field goals in the second half (.700).
Junior guard Bryant McIntosh, Northwestern’s career assists leader, added three more to his total tonight. He currently has 534, most by any non-senior in NCAA basketball.
From 17:08 on the clock to 5:54 left in the first half, the Wildcats roared out to a 31-0 run. That stretch of 11 minutes and 15 seconds saw Northwestern hit a total of 13 unanswered scoring plays, including five three-pointers, three dunks, two layups, and three mid-range jumpers. NU turned a three-point deficit (RU led 9-6) into a 28-point lead (NU led 37-9). During that same 11:15 stretch, the Wildcat defenders held Rutgers to a 0-of-14 shooting drought from the field. The NCAA record book lists a 39-0 run by Oklahoma vs. Weber State (12/22/14) as the longest scoring run between Division 1 opponents.
With its 83 points tonight vs. Rutgers, Northwestern improved its record to a perfect 14-0 this season when scoring 70 or more points.
The Wildcats’ starting five made 25-of-36 field goal attempts (.694), including 6-of-13 from beyond the arc.
In the five Big Ten Tournament games Chris Collins has coached, his Wildcats have held their opponents to shooting performances of .323 (vs. Iowa, 3/13/14), .450 (vs. MSU, 3/14/14), .415 (vs. Indiana, 3/23/15), .379 (vs. Michigan, 3/10/16) and .415 (tonight vs. Rutgers).
The Wildcats also set team single-game Big Ten Tournament marks in the following categories: points (83) and field goals made (30).
Northwestern won its 22nd game of the season, extending its school record.
Northwestern will be pitted against No. 3 Maryland on Friday night. The Terrapins won the schools’ only previous meeting this season, 74-64, in Evanston.