Nebraska beats Rutgers 89-72 in Big Ten tournament
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Shavon Shields and Nebraska turned up their defense just when it looked like Rutgers was gathering momentum.
The effort sparked a 17-2 run in which the Cornhuskers took control of the game and cruised to an 89-72 victory over the Scarlet Knights at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
''Getting stops was important,'' Shields said. ''When they only scored two points on a run like that you're getting stops. I think we ran well in transition. Tai (Webster) kicked it out to me twice for easy scores. Just running in transition really sparked us on offense.''
It was the 11th-seeded Cornhuskers' third victory over No. 14 seed Rutgers this season and ended their five-game losing streak. Nebraska's last victory was at home against Penn State on Feb. 13.
Nebraska (15-17) will take on No. 6 seed Wisconsin Thursday in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals. The two teams met just once during the regular season with the Badgers winning 72-61 in Madison.
Shields scored 20 points and pulled down 11 rebounds to lead the Cornhuskers. In that 17-2 run that put Nebraska up 60-45 with 9:51 to play, Shields had five points including a three-point play. Five different Nebraska players scored during that run.
Rutgers came to the Big Ten Tournament Wednesday having closed its season with its only conference win, March 5 against Minnesota.
With just under 17 minutes to play against Nebraska, it looked like the Scarlet Knights had a shot to make it two in a row. Corey Sanders' 3-pointer pulled Rutgers even with the Cornhuskers and the Knights appeared to have momentum.
Rutgers (7-25) had 17 turnovers that led to 27 Nebraska points.
''You have to give credit to them,'' Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan said. ''Their guards got into Corey (Sanders) and Corey didn't have his typical efficient game for us. And then we just didn't execute some areas that we should have.''
Tai Webster had 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting. He scored 12 in the first half as Nebraska led 37-33 at the break.
''Tai was really strong in the first half and we did need it because we were awful at the rim,'' said Nebraska coach Tim Miles. ''They didn't give us anything clean at the rim and that's the way it should have been if you want to advance.''
Andrew White III had 16 points, Michael Jacobsen scored 14 and Ed Morrow had all 10 of his points in the second half.
''They were putting two on the ball so somebody was going to run free,'' Miles said. ''(Jacobsen) was able to get to the rim. A lot of times the ball finds you. I thought he did a good job and I thought the guys delivered it, too.''
Mike Williams led Rutgers with 14, Bishop Daniels had 13 and Omari Grier added 12 for the Scarlet Knights.
Nebraska: The Cornhuskers are now 2-4 in Big Ten tournament history and this was their first win ever in Indianapolis. Their only other Big Ten tournament victory came in 2013 when No. 10 seed Nebraska beat No. 7 Purdue 57-55 at the United Center. ... Nebraska is 18-38 all-time in conference tournament games.
Rutgers: Rutgers finished the season 0-14 away from home. The Scarlet Knights were 0-11 in true road games and 0-3 on neutral sites. ... Rutgers is 2-5 all-time against Nebraska.
Nebraska: The Cornhuskers will face No. 6 seed Wisconsin in Thursday's quarterfinals.
Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights were eliminated from the Big Ten tournament with the loss.