Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, March 9, 2016
INDIANAPOLIS — No. 11 Nebraska had lost nine of its last 11 games entering Wednesday night, so beating No. 14 Rutgers in its opening round of the Big Ten tourney offered some relief to the program.
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The Cornhuskers used a balanced attack to subdue the Scarlet Knights, who closed with a 7-24 mark and just one Big Ten victory, which came in the season finale vs. Minnesota.
Nebraska, which snapped a three-game losing skid in the Big Ten tourney, play No. 6 Wisconsin on Thursday night.
Top star: Shavon Shields, Nebraska. The Nebraska star got off to a slow start, but he still managed to compile his first double-double (20 points, 11 rebounds) of the season.
Top stat: 50, points in the paint for Nebraska. The Huskers also had 18 fast-break points in running away in the second half with 52 points in the final 20 minutes in a game that was tied 43-43 at one point. That's when Nebraska caught fire. The Cornhuskers went on a 17-2 run over the next seven minutes to break the game open at 60-45.
Top stat line: Shavon Shields hit 7-of-15 shots and had 11 rebounds with four assists and four steals. In the first half, he was just 2-of-6 from the field for six points.
Top play: Corey Sanders, Rutgers. Sanders is a big Allen Iverson fan. It's why he wears No. 3 and it's a big reason why he went to Rutgers, to play for Eddie Jordan, one of AI's old coaches. Well, the star freshman looked like his hero on this pretty play.
It was over when: Nebraska held a 37-33 halftime lead. And, it slowly pulled away in the second half, pushing its edge to 13 points with 12:14 left in the game. NU pushed its lead to as many as 19 points in the second half in cruising to an 89-72 win.
Did you see this? The Scarlet Knight joined the BTN set prior to Wednesday night's game. It was a fun time; he even knighted Jon Crispin, a New Jersey native.
- Shavon Shields entered the game with a 22.7 scoring average since returning to action after missing four games with a concussion. He had 20 tonight.
- The win snapped a five-game losing streak for NU.
- The duo of Shield and Andrew White average over 16 points each. In the last five years, that has been accomplished two times in the Big Ten. The last time was in 2013-14 by Adreian Payne and Gary Harris of Michigan State.
- This was the third time this season Nebraska beat Rutgers.
- The Cornhuskers are now 2-4 in Big Ten Tournament history and this was their first win ever in Indianapolis.
- 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.