Rutgers Shocked No. 16 Ohio State With First Conference Win
After a 0-3 start in conference play, Rutgers’ men’s basketball team wanted to write those wrongs and do whatever it takes to secure a win. Fortunately, that’s exactly what happened on Wednesday night.
Rutgers earned a signature Big Ten win, knocking off No. 16 Ohio State, 64-61, inside a charged up, Rutgers Athletic Center. The victory is coach Steve Pikiell’s first over a ranked opponent. It was the Scarlet Knights’ first win over a ranked conference opponent since they defeated No. 4 Wisconsin in January of 2015 when Eddie Jordan was their head coach.
The Scarlet Knights victory was unlikely and unexpected coming into the night. The program struggled mightily against conference opponents since joining the Big Ten, coming close but never getting over the hump in their upset attempts.
What made the statement win more shocking was how well the team played once their captain and leading scorer Eugene Omoruyi left the game early on with an injury. Rutgers led 8-7 at the time and he amazingly walked off the court on his own power. He did not return the rest of the game and hopefully, it is nothing serious. The team stepped it up in his absence and proceeded to spread the wealth around.
Rutgers’ Fantastic Four
Rutgers had four players score double-digit points, each of which provided baskets at crucial junctures. Geo Baker got Rutgers off to a quick start with 13 points in the first half. Shaq Carter contributed some big lay-ups and clutch free throws. Ron Harper got out to an equally quick start and hit a key three and free throws in the second half. Montez Mathis played incredibly well on both ends.
Rutgers shot 46% from the floor in the second half and was an impressive 15 of 20 from the free throw line in the game. They won the turnover battle (+3) and took care of the basketball much better than they have in Big Ten play so far. They were -1 on the boards but grabbed some key offensive rebounds in the second half. Rutgers also held a 12-6 edge with fast break points and amazingly led for 29 minutes in the game.
What’s Next For The Scarlet Knights?
Rutgers hits the road to take on Minnesota (12-3, 2-2) this Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET. If Rutgers can get back to back Big Ten wins, it would put the conference on notice that the Jersey boys are officially here.
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