Rutgers logged their first ever victory over Michigan State on Thursday night — and did so in a huge way.
The Scarlet Knights avenged an early season loss to the Spartans with a 67-37 triumph. Rutgers had been 0-11 against Michigan State heading into this game. A Caleb McConnell layup gave the Scarlet Knights a lead just seven seconds in and they did not relinquish it.
Rutgers turned in their worst performance of the season in East Lansing earlier in the season. They completely flipped the switch with their best performance in Piscataway on the night where they debuted the 1983 throwback jerseys. The Scarlet Knights scored the first 15 points of the game to gain control. They hit seven of their first 11 shots during this stretch and held the Spartans scoreless for the first six minutes of the game.
Michigan State came out looking like a team that has not played in 20 days. They were held under 40 points for the first time since 2008. Rutgers held the Spartans to 29% shooting and forced 21 turnovers. Rutgers finished with 33 points off turnovers and went 10-12 from the foul line.
Myles Johnson led the Scarlet Knights on both ends of the floor. He finished with 13 points, 14 rebounds, and five blocks — his second straight game with five rejections.
Michigan State made a run near the end of the first half. The Spartans went on a 20-9 run to get back within three. Rutgers held a six-point lead at halftime and came out to dominate the second half. The Scarlet Knights outscored Michigan State 41-17 over the final 20 minutes of the game.
Geo Baker turned in an all-around performance. Baker logged 11 points, five rebounds, five assists, and five steals.
The Scarlet Knights won the rebounding battle 42-33 after being outrebounded by 20 in the first meeting. In that first meeting, Michigan State finished 16-19 from the free throw line. On Thursday, they were just 1-5.
This victory brings the Scarlet Knights to 9-6 overall and 5-6 in the Big Ten. A victory against this Michigan State team may not have the same weight as previous years but this was a milestone victory and it was picked up in dominant fashion.
Rutgers (9-6; 5-6) will look to keep it going on Sunday night against Northwestern, losers of seven straight, before returning to the RAC next Thursday to host No. 21 Minnesota.