Home Sports Big Ten Tournament pairings are set — and Northwestern will be the No. 2 seed at the United Center after beating Rutgers 65-53 – Chicago Tribune

Big Ten Tournament pairings are set — and Northwestern will be the No. 2 seed at the United Center after beating Rutgers 65-53 – Chicago Tribune

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Sophomore guard Brooks Barnhizer came off the bench to score 16 points and grab 10 rebounds for his first career double-double, leading Northwestern to a 65-53 victory over Rutgers on Sunday night for a school-record 12th Big Ten win.

Northwestern (21-10, 12-8) ended a three-game losing streak and finished the regular season in a tie with No. 15 Indiana for second place in coach Chris Collins’ 10th season in Evanston. The Wildcats will be the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten Tournament — which begins Wednesday at the United Center — and have a double bye into Friday’s quarterfinals against the Illinois-Penn State winner.

Rutgers (18-13, 10-10) is seeded ninth and will face No. 8 seed Michigan in the first of Thursday’s four second-round games.

Northwestern surpassed the 11 Big Ten wins of the 1930-31 Wildcats, who won the school’s only outright conference title. The program record for wins in a season is 24, set in 2016-17. That team earned Northwestern’s lone trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Barnhizer made 7 of 12 from the field with a 3-pointer. Boo Buie sank three 3-pointers, all in the second half, and scored 14. Ty Berry pitched in with 12 points and seven rebounds, while Matthew Nicholson scored 10 on 5-of-6 shooting with six boards.

Clifford Omoruyi finished with 14 points, six rebounds and two blocks for the Scarlet Knights. Reserve Derek Simpson had 12 points.

Caleb McConnell scored just two points but had a team-high eight rebounds and finished with six steals. McConnell moved past Myles Mack (211) into second on the school’s all-time steals list with 214.

Barnhizer scored eight to help Northwestern take a 25-21 lead at halftime. He followed a 3-pointer with a layup to cap a 9-0 run, and Northwestern upped its lead to 36-24 with 14:10 remaining.

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Omoruyi’s layup pulled the Scarlet Knights within 38-30 at the midway point of the second half, but Buie answered with a three-point play and the Wildcats’ lead never slipped below nine from there.

Northwestern beat Rutgers for only the second time in the last seven matchups, but the Wildcats lead the overall series 12-7. Northwestern’s .632 winning percentage against the Scarlet Knights is its best against a Big Ten opponent.

Northwestern guard Brooks Barnhizer (13) drives to the basket against Rutgers guard Cam Spencer (10) during the first half Sunday, March 5, 2023, in Piscataway, N.J.

Wednesday’s first round (BTN)

  • (12) Wisconsin vs. (13) Ohio State, 5:30 p.m.
  • (11) Nebraska vs. (14) Minnesota, 8 p.m.

Thursday’s second round (BTN)

  • (8) Michigan vs. (9) Rutgers, 11 a.m.
  • (5) Iowa vs. 12-13 winner, 1:30 p.m.
  • (7) Illinois vs. (10) Penn State, 5:30 p.m.
  • (6) Maryland vs. 11-14 winner, 8 p.m.

Friday’s quarterfinals (BTN)

  • (1) Purdue vs. 8-9 winner, 11 a.m.
  • (4) Michigan State vs. 5/12-13 winner, 1:30 p.m.
  • (2) Northwestern vs. 7-10 winner, 5:30 p.m.
  • (3) Indiana vs. 6/11-14 winner, 8 p.m.

Saturday’s semifinals (CBS-2)

Sunday’s championship game (CBS-2)

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