National Basketball Association
Rutgers 66, Ohio St. 57
When: 7:00 PM ET, Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Where: Verizon Center, Washington, District of Columbia
# Steve McJunkins, # Gene Steratore, # Paul Szelc
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
Nigel Johnson 21
Jae'Sean Tate 18
Corey Sanders 3
C.J. Jackson 6
C.J. Gettys 9
Trevor Thompson 11
Nigel Johnson 8
||Free Throws Made
Jae'Sean Tate 6
DeShawn Freeman 2
C.J. Jackson 1
DeShawn Freeman 1
Jae'Sean Tate 2
Team Stats Summary