INDIANAPOLIS — It wasn't one of the more anticipated games of the Big Ten Tournament — that'll happen on Day 1 of a 14-team tournament — but Nebraska provided some second-half fireworks in its matchup with Rutgers.
The Huskers used a 17-2 run in the second half to blow past the Scarlet Knights, 89-72, on Wednesday night. The win sent Nebraska to a Day 2 showdown with No. 6-seed Wisconsin.
Nebraska was ahead by just four at halftime against a Rutgers team that won just once during the 18-game Big Ten regular season. The Huskers forced 11 first-half turnovers, but the Knights cancelled that damage out with 48.1-percent shooting over the first 20 minutes.
Rutgers actually tied the game not long into the second half, a Corey Sanders 3-pointer knotting the score at 43. But from there, Nebraska ran away and hid, using a 17-2 run to turn a tie game into a 15-point advantage. The Knights went almost six minutes without a made basket as the Huskers built their big lead, one that never again reached single digits and grew as big as 19 before game's end.
Nebraska shot 52.9 percent from the field over the game's final 20 minutes, going 4-for-7 from 3-point range in the second half. Shavon Shields scored 14 of his game-high 20 points in the second half, coming close to a second-half double-double with nine rebounds after halftime. Ed Morrow Jr. scored 10 second-half points in just seven minutes.
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The Huskers scored 27 points off 17 Knights turnovers on the game, also holding a massive 48-32 edge in points in the paint. Nebraska finished with a 47.1-percent shooting effort and scored 18 of their points via the fastbreak.
Shields' 20-point performance was his third such game in his last four since returning from a four-game injury absence. He was one of five Nebraska players in double figures. Tai Webster scored 18 points, Andrew White III scored 16 points, Michael Jacobson scored 14 points and Morrow had 10 points.
Mike Williams led Rutgers with his 14 points. Bishop Daniels scored 13 points, Omari Grier scored 12 points and Sanders added 10.
The Huskers' win snapped a five-game losing streak that ended the regular season. Their record sits at 15-17 overall and 7-12 against Big Ten opponents. Nebraska gets Wisconsin, which won 11 of its final 13 regular-season games, on Day 2 of the tournament Thursday.
The Knights' season came to an end with the loss, bottoming out with a 7-25 overall record and a 1-18 mark against Big Ten foes.