Rutgers-Northwestern game delayed after scoreboard speaker catches fire in first half

A speaker hanging just above the scoreboard at Jersey Mike's Arena suddenly caught fire and started spewing smoke on Sunday night.
A speaker hanging just above the scoreboard at Jersey Mike's Arena suddenly caught fire and started spewing smoke on Sunday night. (Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images)

The Rutgers-Northwestern men's basketball game was delayed briefly in the first half on Sunday afternoon after a speaker above the scoreboard at Jersey Mike’s Arena caught fire.

With just under four minutes left in the first half of the final Big Ten game of the regular season, smoke started filling the arena in Piscataway, New Jersey. Referees, Rutgers athletic director Pat Hobbs, police officers and even a fire marshal were suddenly seen meeting on the court during the final media timeout of the half, trying to figure out what was going on.

The issue apparently came after a speaker hanging above the scoreboard caught fire.

Officials opted to cut power from the speakers and play the rest of the first half before inspecting it at halftime. As the smoke was minor, play then continued.

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Northwestern, after going more than five minutes without scoring before the delay, took a four point lead at the break. The Wildcats then flew ahead late in the second half to claim the 65-53 win, which snapped a three-game losing skid. Brooks Barnhizer led the team with 16 points with nine rebounds off the bench after shooting 7-of-12 from the field, and Boo Buie added 14 points. Ty Berry finished with 12 points and seven rebounds.

Clifford Omouryi led Rutgers with 14 points, and Derek Simpson added 12 off the bench. They were the only two who scored in double figures for Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights went just 2-of-17 from behind the arc, and shot 11-of-21 from the free throw line.

With its win, Northwestern will now be the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten tournament. Rutgers, which has now lost six of their last eight games, is now solidly back on the NCAA tournament bubble. The Scarlet Knights will open the Big Ten tournament against Michigan as the No. 9 seed in Chicago.