Nebraska’s rigorous stretch continues vs. Rutgers

NCAA Basketball

Nebraska’s mad rush of games continue on Monday night when it faces Rutgers in Big Ten play at Lincoln, Neb.

The Cornhuskers will be taking the court for the 12th time in a 24-day span after being shut down nearly four weeks due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

Nebraska (6-17, 2-14 Big Ten) is 2-9 during the game-heavy stretch after recording a 78-74 home victory over Minnesota on Saturday night.

“I think everybody appreciates the effort our players have gone out and played with, facing more adversity than any team in the country with everything that we have gone through in the middle of our season,” Cornhuskers coach Fred Hoiberg said after his team won for just the second time in the past 16 contests.

“The workman-like approach that I see these guys come in with day in and day out with the losses that we’ve had, I think speaks to the character of our group. That’s what I’m most proud of, seeing something like this pay off for them. To get over the hump and get a win late in the year.”

Nebraska is looking to post back-to-back wins for the first time in exactly three months when it battles the Scarlet Knights (13-9, 9-9). And the Cornhuskers will be doing it without leading scorer Teddy Allen, who has left the program, the school announced Monday. Allen scored a career-best 41 points on 16-of-24 shooting against Penn State last Tuesday but had just five points two nights later against Illinois and didn’t score at all in just 10 minutes versus Minnesota.

Rutgers dropped three of four games before rallying from a 15-point deficit to produce a 74-63 home win over Indiana on Saturday.

Geo Baker matched his career high of six 3-pointers and registered season highs of 20 points and 10 assists. The assists total represents the most by a Scarlet Knights’ player in a Big Ten contest this season.

“Geo played really well defensively for us,” Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said. “He was locked in. When he’s locked in, he could do those kinds of things and it was a great ‘senior night’ for a guy who has meant a lot to us and has done a lot, had a lot of big nights here.”

Leading scorer Ron Harper Jr. (15.7 points per game) also scored 20 points and collected eight rebounds. It marked the sixth time this season that Harper scored at least 20 points but the first since a Dec. 23 loss to Ohio State.

Myles Johnson contributed a career-best seven blocked shots to raise his total to 56, which ranks second in the Big Ten.

The Scarlet Knights swept last season’s two meetings. Baker drained a 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds left to give Rutgers a 75-72 home win over the Cornhuskers on Jan. 25, 2020, and the Scarlet Knights rolled to a 79-62 win at Nebraska 22 days earlier.

–Field Level Media

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