WASHINGTON (AP) — Vic Law led the way as Northwestern went on a run of 31 consecutive points in the first half of an 83-61 rout of Rutgers on Thursday in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament.
Law scored 10 of his 16 points during that 31-0 run that put the game out of reach and pushed sixth-seeded Northwestern into the quarterfinals where it will face third-seeded and 25th-ranked Maryland. The NCAA Tournament-bound Wildcats (22-10) can only improve their seeding from here after taking care of business against the 14th-seeded Scarlet Knights (15-18).
Scottie Lindsey also had 16 points for Northwestern. Nigel Johnson led Rutgers with 21.
By the time of Sanjay Lumpkin’s dunk with 6:11 left in the first half, Northwestern led by 28 and had full control of the game. Johnson’s 3-pointer that ended the 10½-minute run drew a rousing cheer from Rutgers fans who were part of a sparse crowd in the final game of the night.
Rutgers cut it as close as 15 in the second half but was no match for Northwestern, which will make history Sunday when it officially becomes part of an NCAA Tournament field for the first time.
Rutgers: Even this loss can’t take the shine off incremental improvements this season under first-year coach Steve Pikiell. Rutgers had three Big Ten wins after one each in the previous two seasons under Eddie Jordan and won a game in the conference tournament for the first time, so things are looking up in Piscataway, New Jersey.
Northwestern: The future is now in Evanston, Illinois, as Northwestern looks to be in fine form with the first NCAA Tournament bid in school history coming up. But the Wildcats aren’t done at this tournament yet.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus was in the house to see son Charlie Hall play for alma mater Northwestern and drew cheers when she was shown on arena video boards. Hall entered the game in the final minutes and drew even bigger cheers when he grabbed two rebounds.
She continued the celebrity cavalcade in D.C. after rapper and reality TV star Flavor Flav attended Thursday to see cousin Shep Garner help Penn State advance. With Flavor Flav gone, Penn State lost to Michigan State 78-51 on Thursday.
Northwestern: Faces third-seeded Maryland in the late game Friday night. Maryland is the reason this tournament is in Washington and will be playing 15 miles from its College Park campus.
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