Rutgers received its fourth straight loss at Wisconsin

Rutgers received its fourth straight loss at Wisconsin

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Jeremiah Williams scored 18 points and Rutgers used a stifling defense to lead the entire game and hand No. 11 Wisconsin its fourth straight loss, 78-56, on Saturday.

The Scarlet Knights (13-10, 5-7 Big Ten) scored 15 points off 12 Wisconsin turnovers to secure their third straight win. Noah Fernandez scored 17 points, and Clifford Omoruyi added 13 points and 13 rebounds.

Connor Essegian and AJ Storr scored 15 and 14 points, respectively, for Wisconsin (16-8, 8-5). The Badgers never reached single digits in the second half.

The Crimson Knights made 59% on 3s (10 of 17).

Williams had not played a college basketball game in nearly two years (709 days) before he was activated prior to Rutgers’ game at Michigan on February 3. The Iowa State transfer suffered a season-ending Achilles injury last year and then had to sit out. 20 games this season for violating the NCAA’s gambling policy.

“I just kept working and staying positive,” Williams said. “That’s all to play on this stage.”

Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said Williams brings an intangible beyond his ability to score and distribute.

“I love his personality,” Pikiell said. “He’s always smiling, loves coaching and gave us a voice on the field. I’m grateful to have him there.”

After the Badgers closed the score at 54-44 after a 6-0 run, Rutgers responded with five straight points from Fernandez to take a 59-44 lead with 8:12 remaining.

Rutgers took advantage of 11 first-half turnovers by Wisconsin to take a 37-28 lead. It was the fewest points scored in a first half for the Badgers in a Big Ten game this season.

“They (Rutgers) were more aggressive than us,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. “We were going to hesitate. We didn’t respond up and down the lineup. I’m disappointed about our response to pressure. That’s the biggest thing.”

Implications of the survey

Wisconsin is likely to drop in the poll after back-to-back losses by 8 points to Nebraska in overtime, 6 points to second place Purdue, 4 points to Michigan and now 22 points to Rutgers.

The Big Picture

Wisconsin: Part of the Badgers’ downward spiral is their inability to convert 3-pointers. They were just 5 of 21 against Rutgers after going 5 of 19 against Michigan and 3 of 19 against Purdue.

Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights were boosted by the return of Williams, who was out due to injury and NCAA eligibility. In his first two games before Saturday, he won both at Rutgers, where he averaged 12 points and 5.5 rebounds while shooting 42.9% from the field. His emergence has provided stability to a roster that has been plagued by offseason transfers and injuries.

the next

Wisconsin: Hosts Ohio State on Tuesday night.

Rutgers: Hosts Northwestern on Thursday.

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