National Basketball Association
Rutgers 66, Ohio St. 57
When: 7:00 PM ET, Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Where: Verizon Center, Washington, District of Columbia
Officials: # Steve McJunkins, # Gene Steratore, # Paul Szelc
Attendance: N/A

In its regular-season finale, Rutgers dealt a big blow to Illinois' NCAA Tournament hopes. On Wednesday, the Scarlet Knights put an end to Ohio State's season.

Rutgers dominated the offensive boards and scored 22 second-chance points to beat Ohio State 66-57 in the first round of the Big Ten tournament in Washington.

No. 14 seed Rutgers (15-17), which won just three Big Ten games during the regular season, has won two in a row for the first time since mid-December. The Scarlet Knights advance to play Northwestern, the tournament's No. 6 seed, in Round 2 on Thursday.

Nigel Johnson came off the bench to lead Rutgers with 21 points. DeShawn Freeman, whose late 3-pointer knocked off Illinois on Saturday, had 10 points and eight rebounds before fouling out with 1:59 to go. The Scarlet Knights had a 19-7 edge on the offensive glass.

Jae'Sean Tate had 18 points for 11th-seeded Ohio State, which was 5 of 21 from the field in the second half.

Both teams struggled from the field for long stretches.

Johnson's 3-pointer, which put the Scarlet Knights ahead 58-53 with 2:20 left, was the first field goal by either team in more than three minutes.

Rutgers went on a 10-1 run after the break to take a six-point lead. The Buckeyes didn't make a second-half field goal until a Marc Loving 3-pointer tied it at 39 with 13:44 to go.

Ohio State, which made eight of its first 10 shots, led by 10 early but a 13-2 run gave Rutgers its first lead at 18-17 with 9:17 to go in the first half.

The Buckeyes cooled off after their hot start, but still shot 54.2 percent from the field and led 32-29 at the half.

Ohio State winds up 17-15 and will miss the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season.

Prior to the game, Gene Smith, Ohio State's athletic director, gave head coach Thad Matta a vote of confidence.

"I am confident in his leadership to return the program to the winning ways that we have all enjoyed during his 13-year tenure," Smith said in a statement.

Under Matta, the Buckeyes have played in the NCAA Tournament nine times and the Final Four twice.
Top Game Performances
Rutgers   Ohio St.
Nigel Johnson 21 Scoring Jae'Sean Tate 18
Corey Sanders 3 Assists C.J. Jackson 6
C.J. Gettys 9 Rebounds Trevor Thompson 11
Nigel Johnson 8 Free Throws Made Jae'Sean Tate 6
DeShawn Freeman 2 Steals C.J. Jackson 1
DeShawn Freeman 1 Blocks Jae'Sean Tate 2
Team Stats Summary
Team Points FG% 3PM-3PA FTM-FTA Assists Rebounds Blocks Steals Turnovers
Rutgers 66 37.1 7-23 13-19 8 44 3 4 13
Ohio St. 57 40.0 6-20 15-28 13 28 4 4 14