Just when Rutgers positioned itself as a spoiler for Northwestern, Bryant McIntosh doubled down in a frustrating blown lead for the Scarlet Knights.
Rutgers carried a slight lead for most of the second half at Northwestern before McIntosh took over. The game's leading scorer, McIntosh gave the Wildcats a last-minute lead with a clutch three. He caught his own rebound the following possession for another free throw.
“I'm proud our guys,” said coach Steve Pikiell on his post-game segment with WCTC radio. “They had to have this win, Northwestern. We missed some timely free throws again. It hurt us, but we outrebounded them, played our hearts out in a tough environment. We've come a long way. We just need to make a couple plays down the stretch and, again, some free throws and that kind of thing. We have to play perfect basketball.”
Rutgers (13-15, 2-13) had 13 seconds and one final chance for overtime. Down three, Corey Sanders lost his dribble and Rutgers lost the game.
Guard Nigel Johnson stayed hot off the bench for Rutgers with 16 points and three more makes from long range. Freshman Eugene Omoruyi gave his best game of the season after a recent move to power forward. Omoruyi posted 10 points and five rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench.
Johnson's final shot attempt came from long range again, where he took plenty of contact but did not receive a foul call.
“Tough, tough call, tough play,” Pikiell said. “That's what happens when you're on the road. I thought, very difficult to not call that a foul. I'll have to look at it on tape, but that was a tough one.”