Rutgers Guard Nigel Johnson Heats Up in February, Shooting Improved in Return from Injury

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Shooting 47 percent and 58 percent from long range in his last two games, guard Nigel Johnson's numbers are way up since he entered his last home game as a the second-least successful three-point shooter on the roster.

Question: What's been the difference in your shooting the last few games?

Rutgers Junior Guard Nigel Johnson: “I would say I just went out there and stopped thinking so much. Stop worrying about missing and making every shot. I just started playing. I got hot and my teammates just kept looking for me. They kept encouraging me to shoot, telling me to shoot my shot and create shots and make open shots. I've been making them, so it's definitely boosted my confidence up. I stopped thinking so much.”

Q: Are you getting more comfortable on the road?

NJ: “I definitely feel like us as a team have been getting comfortable. Lately on the road, the whole season on the road, we've been playing everybody close. It always comes down to the last two or three minutes of every game. I feel like I'm definitely getting comfortable and, like I said before, just stopped thinking so much and just started playing basketball.”

Q: How do you prepare for what's rated as the toughest Big Ten schedule for any team?

NJ: “We don't really do anything different to prepare. We just go out there and try to execute the game plan that the coaches made for us as best as possible. We know every night before the game, they're going to give us a great game plan. If we execute the game plan right, we know we're going to put ourselves in a good position to win games. I feel like we've been doing that. It's just coming down to the last two or three minutes and executing and doing the right things in the last couple minutes to finish. That's our biggest thing. We've got to learn how to finish.”

Q: How big is it to carry a little momentum into the upcoming Big Ten tournament?

NJ: “As everybody knows, in the Big Ten tournament or any conference tournament, it's a new season. You could not win a game all year and go in there and win the whole tournament and go to the NCAA tournament, so it's definitely important for us to stay on our groove and play our best basketball of the year at the tournament.”

Q: How good is it to be home for a couple of games?

NJ: “It's definitely great. I think Coach [Steve Pikiell] told us that we played about nine of our last 12 games on the road or something. We probably had the most road games of anybody in the league so far. To have our last three at home in front of our fans, our crowd, it's going to be a big energy for us. Knowing that it's our last three home games of the year, I definitely think we're ready for it.”

Q: Anything special to your first Big Ten tournament being at the Verizon Center?

NJ: “Yes. It's definitely going to be fun. I'm going to have a lot of people there, a lot of family and friends. It's definitely going to be a lot of Rutgers fans there. It's definitely going to give us a good amount of fans to play in front of.”

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