Steve Pikiell says to anyone who will listen that he believes the Big Ten are the nation's toughest conference.
Rutgers coach and team cut off one of the league's top guns on Wednesday night.
freshman Montez Mathis & # 39; One minute before departure, the crucial basket came as Scarlet Knights No. 16, Ohio State, 64-61, were upset at the Rutgers Athletics Center in Piscataway. He managed to overcome two potentially catastrophic offensive struggles and one injury to one of their best players.
"This is a program win," athletics director Patrick Hobbs told NJ Advance Media. "A great program victory."
The victory was Pikiell's second against an opponent in the rankings as coach of Rutgers and his first against a ranked Big Ten team. Seton Hall was ranked 1
The victory came with some disadvantages. Striker Eugene Omoruyi, Rutgers' leading scorer, left the game with a left leg injury in the first half and did not return after being involved in the rebound. Omoruyi finally limped, but he lay on the ground for a while and was in pain. Pikiell had no update on Omoruyi's status after the game. he will be reevaluated on Thursday.
"These people have found a way to bring bad luck," said Pikiell. "They have found a way to win the game. I could not be proud of my team today. "
Rutgers led eleven in the first half and ten in the second half, but Ohio remained. It was worth it when the Scarlet Knights reached their second extended cold stretch of the evening and all the way back to reach 61-58 with 2:37 before the end. By the time Mathis set off with a 1: 37-minute score of 61:60, Rutgers had gone without a field hit at 7:23. Mathis Rutgers then set the pace from 1:07 to 62:61 and a Geo-Baker jumper made it 64-61 with 13 seconds to go.
Ohio State's CJ Jackson missed a 3-point attempt from the corner two seconds before the edge of the rim.
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Mathis led Rutgers with 16 points. Baker was 15. Ron Harper Jr. had 12 and Shaq Carter 11.
Rutgers (8-6, 1-3) followed early, but controlled most of the first half and took the biggest lead of 6:07 with 6: 02 left by Mathis in the dark. The Scarlet Knights went out without field goal in the last quarter of 4:54. The Buckeyes (12-3, 2-2) used an 11: 1 run on the track to pull in the 31-30 range after 20 minutes. The Scarlet Knights missed their last seven shots off the ground in the first half.
The drought lasted another 1:56 with three more failures after the second half had begun – allowing Ohio to take a short lead – before breaking in. Striker Shaq Doorson brought the Scarlet Knights back with 18:04 in the game , The Scarlet Knights settled down and built their lead to 10, 55-45, nine minutes before the end. But then there was another attack attempt. Not enough to derail Pikiell's biggest ever conference win
James Kratch is available at firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow him on Twitter @JamesKratch . Find NJ.com Rutgers Football on Facebook .