PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Rutgers finally put together a 40-minute game in conference play and coach Steve Pikiell earned his first Big Ten win with a 65-64 nail-biting victory over Nebraska on Saturday.
Corey Sanders scored a season-high 25 points, including the game-winner with one second left.
Sanders stole a ball that bounced off Nebraska’s Tai Webster’s foot with 12 seconds to play. Following a timeout, Sanders drove to the basket, corralled his own rebound and gave Rutgers the lead.
“We’re in every game,” Pikiell said. “We just have to learn how to win and today these guys made sure that happened on the court.
“Offensive rebounding has been huge for us all year, so it’s great to win a game like this with our biggest strength, which is rebounding.”
Deshawn Freeman and C.J. Gettys each added 10 points for Rutgers (12-8, 1-6).
Sanders’ layup with 4:42 left tied it at 55-all. From there, the teams exchanged leads five times over the final minutes. Rutgers was led by Sanders down the stretch, including a fast-break dunk for a 57-55 lead before a jumper gave the Scarlet Knights a 59-58 lead with 2:31 left.
Jack McVeigh hit three three-pointers in the span of 1:14 to give Nebraska (9-10, 3-4) a 64-59 lead with 1:31 to go.
Webster finished with 14 points and Glynn Watson Jr. and McVeigh scored 12 points apiece for Nebraska.
“It wasn’t going to happen overnight,” Sanders said of the program’s rebuilding process. “But I feel like with this win, we can keep things rolling and hopefully get more wins.”