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Enjoying the Build: 4 Thoughts on Rutgers-Michigan State

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What a game.

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers fell in overtime 76-72 in a battle they could have won. A well fought valiant effort. Here’s Aaron with the recap.

And now me with the emotion.

Corey Sanders is starting to grow up: Corey took this game over and got to the hoop at will. He defended, he passed when he needed to. But in the second half, when he was needed, he scored 22 points and was involved in every key possession. If Corey plays like this the rest of the way, Rutgers will win its share both at home and maybe even on the road. He’s turning himself into a true basketball player. The jumper he missed at the buzzer of regulation looked good on TV and was just off.

What a Defensive Effort: After Michigan State jumped out to a 9-0, Rutgers turned the defense up 100%. They kept Miles Bridges off the score sheet until late in the game. They forced the Spartans to take a ton of bad shots. They fouled when they needed to (and sometimes when they did but the refs thought they saw some but whatever). Eugene Omoruyi is the most improved player on this team and he showed it with more drawn charges and some shut down D.

Deshawn Freeman was sick: But he still scored 15 points. He hit a key three late (or was it in overtime? The game was a blur). He looked exhausted and still was able to cut to the basket and get some huge dunks. He is an important player on this team. My only criticism? He still needs to learn when to pass on the fast break.

Steve Pikiell Got His Extension...and now?: Now Pikiell has to be calling anyone who can shoot the ball. Call Aundre Hyatt. Call Paul Mulcahy. Call everyone and show them this tape and show them what a shooter could do for this team. Peter Kiss will help next year. Geo Baker will get better. But the more players who can shoot on this team the better. Everything is pointing up and there are still thirteen games left and the Big Ten Tournament. But next year with more shooters? Could be fun.