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Ron Harper Jr. named B1G Freshman of the Week

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He led Rutgers with a career high 27 points in Saturday’s upset win over Iowa

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

In leading the Rutgers men’s basketball team to its first ranked road victory in 11 years on Saturday in a 86-72 win over Iowa, Ron Harper Jr. was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Monday. He tallied a career high 27 points on 9 of 13 shooting, including 4 of 7 from three-point range and 5 of 5 from the free throw line. He also added 5 rebounds, 1 block and 1 assist in 30 minutes of action.

Harper Jr. is the first Rutgers player to receive Big Ten weekly honors since Geo Baker was named Freshman of the Week in December 2017. Per the Rutgers press release, Harper’s 27 points is the second most in a Big Ten regulation game ever for a freshman for the Scarlet Knights, following Corey Sanders and his 28 point performance against Nebraska in 2016.

The 6’6” wing from Franklin Lakes, New Jersey is playing his best basketball of the season down the stretch. After scoring in double figures in just 4 of his first 14 Big Ten games, Harper Jr. has done so in 3 of his last 4. He has averaged 14.3 points on 60.6% shooting in the past 4 games, including 10 of 19 from three-point range. He started 17 of 75 for 22.6% the season from deep before this recent stretch and it seemed only a matter of time before Harper Jr. would improve from behind the arc. He has in a big way and is now up to 28.7% on the season.

In regard to efficiency, Harper Jr. currently has the best offensive rating on Rutgers in Big Ten play and 15th best in the entire conference at 113.9. He has the 6th lowest turnover rate during league play and is 29 of 37 from the free throw line , which is 15th best. His defense has steadily improved the last six weeks of the season as well.

The sky is the limit for the talented freshman and it’s nice to see the Big Ten honor Harper Jr. after the best game of his young career.