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Saturday’s Big Ten: Northwestern edges Rutgers

Associated Press

Evanston, Ill. — Bryant McIntosh knew Northwestern needed to recover from losing three of its last four games. After all, the Wildcats are aiming for their first NCAA Tournament appearance.

So he nailed a go-ahead 3 with 58 seconds left to hold off last-place Rutgers.

“They have nothing to lose,” McIntosh said. “It’s easy to play with a little pressure on ourselves because we feel like we have to win this game, especially with the little skid we’ve had. So to find a way to win was big for us.”

McIntosh scored 18 points as Northwestern edged the Scarlet Knights 69-65 on Saturday to keep their postseason hopes alive.

Dererk Pardon added 12 points for the Wildcats (20-7, 9-5 Big Ten), who matched their school record for victories in a season.

“Most of the time, we’re just playing for respect at this point of the year, so it is different,” McIntosh said. “There’s a bullseye on the back.”

Corey Sanders led Rutgers (13-15, 2-13) with 17 points and Nigel Johnson had 16. Eugene Omoruyi and C.J. Gettys added 10 apiece for the Scarlett Knights, who have the second-longest NCAA Tournament drought among Power 5 conference teams. They haven’t made the tournament since 1991.

“It’s hard,” Sanders said. “We’re playing hard every game. We’re in every game. We just have to find a way to put 40 minutes together.”

Swanigan, Purdue too much for Michigan State to handle

McIntosh hit the 3 to give Northwestern a 65-63 lead, the Wildcats’ first since they were ahead 43-41. He then made the second of two free throws with 16 seconds remaining before Vic Law stole the ball from Sanders. Law made one of two foul shots before Sanders hit a layup for a two-point game with 3.2 seconds remaining. Northwestern’s Isiah Brown made two free throws to cap the victory.

Northwestern also won 20 games last season, 2010-11 and 2009-10.

Rutgers went on a 9-1 run to take a 49-44 lead with 11:38 remaining. McIntosh’s jumper with 10:08 left was Northwestern’s first field goal in in more than seven minutes and cut its deficit to 49-46.

“We’re doing things that haven’t been done in a while,” Northwestern coach Chris Collins said. “That’s what we’re excited about, but it’s new. We gotta learn how to handle it better. Rutgers played really well. We didn’t defend to the level we needed to defend to for 30 minutes. We did the last eight.”

Illinois 70, (at) Iowa 66: Malcom Hill scored 21 points and hauled down eight rebounds and Illinois held on. Michael Finke, Jalen Coleman-Lands and Te’Jon Lucas each scored 12 points for the Illini (15-12, 5-9).

Lucas blocked Jordan Bohannon’s go-ahead layup attempt in the final two minutes and then Coleman-Lands hit a corner 3-pointer with 1:32 left to help Illinois win its second true road game of the season.

Peter Jok had 16 points and 10 rebounds to lead Iowa (14-13, 6-8). The Hawkeyes have lost three straight.

Iowa had plenty of chances late. The Hawkeyes missed five of their six shots in the final 1:45 and had a nearly seven-minute stretch without a field goal earlier in the second half.

Tyler Cook had 14 points and Bohannon added 11 for Iowa.

Nebraska 58, (at) Ohio State 57: Tai Webster scored 17 points and Nebraska rallied in the last minute. The Huskers chipped away in the second half, and Glynn Watson Jr. tied the score at 57 with a layup with 12 seconds left, then went to the line to convert a free-throw for the one-point lead. A desperation shot just before the buzzer by Ohio State’s Jae’Sean Tate was off the mark as Nebraska (12-14, 6-8 Big Ten) won its second straight game.

Watson had 14 points and Jack McVeigh added 11 for the Huskers, who won despite shooting 38 percent.

Tate had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Marc Loving and Trevor Thompson both added 13 for Ohio State (15-13, 5-10 Big Ten). The Buckeyes shot 41 percent in losing their third straight.