The first three possessions for the Scarlet Knights were telling of how the rest of the game would go: three possessions, three straight turnovers. Rutgers kept it within five or six points for most of the first half, but a cold snap in the second left the Knights in a big hole.
Michigan State ended up beating Rutgers 60-50, improving to 10-6 at home this season.
Outside of Kahleah Copper, the Big 3 had an abysmal showing this afternoon, headlined by Tyler Scaife's box score: two points on 1-14 shooting and three rebounds. She looked frustrated all afternoon as her shots just refused to drop in. Betnijah Laney didn't fare much better with only 11 points on 5-10 shooting and four rebounds. Copper did score 18 points, but her 33 FG% wasn't good enough to spark a rally. The Knights also struggled at the line, sinking 7-11 free throws.
The key to Sparty's victory was a familiar one for Stringer: defend the Knights with a tight zone to eliminate the inside presence and the mid-range jumper, forcing RU to play from beyond the arc. Since Rutgers doesn't shoot the three very much (RU was 1-7 from three-point range), it's easy to maintain a lead if you can prevent the Knights from scoring in transition. One way to do that is to out-rebound your opponent, and that's exactly what the Spartans did (44-32)
Rutgers went without a field goal for six minutes starting at the 12:24 mark in the second, allowing MSU to build an insurmountable lead. Credit the Spartans for playing determined basketball on senior day.
Up next: Rutgers (20-7, 11-5) travels to Evanston on Thursday for a game against the Northwestern Wildcats.