Rutgers saw first-hand why No. 3 Michigan is the top team in the Big Ten and one of the best in the nation.
It has been a struggle on the offensive end of the floor for the Scarlet Knights and it was no different on Thursday night.
Rutgers traveled to Ann Arbor looking to give Michigan their second loss of the season. The Scarlet Knights shot just 40.3% from the floor in a 71-64 loss as the Wolverines improved to a perfect 14-0 all-time in this series.
It was a quick start for Rutgers (12-8, 8-8) as they took a 9-4 lead just five minutes into the game. This lead did not last long as Michigan (15-1, 10-1) quickly took control and built a nine-point lead heading into halftime.
The Scarlet Knights led for just 4:44 in the game. Michigan shot 51% over the first 28 minutes of this contest and that led to the Wolverines opening up a 17-point lead in the second quarter. Rutgers made one final attempt to make things interesting. The Scarlet Knights locked down defensively from that moment on holding Michigan without a field goal for a span of 5:34. The Wolverines were able to maintain a double-digit lead because of the lack of power offensively for Rutgers.
It was not until one minute left that Rutgers was able to cut the lead to single-digits. The Scarlet Knights attempted to take advantage from the midrange against Michigan’s defense. They continued to struggle from three-point range finishing just 3-12. Michigan shot 6-15 from beyond the arc, led by Franz Wagner (20 points) who hit three of his four attempts.
Jacob Young led Rutgers with 16 points off the bench. He was one of four Scarlet Knights to finish in double-figures including Ron Harper Jr., who broke a string of 20 straight misses from three-point range with a first-half make.
This loss was a missed opportunity as far as history is concerned but it will not impact Rutgers in the short term. With four games left, Rutgers will need to split to sit comfortably in the mix come Selection Sunday. When looking at their remaining schedule, Rutgers will have a chance to get to 11 wins in the Big Ten.
The Scarlet Knights have two straight coming up at home against Maryland and Indiana before finishing the season on the road against Nebraska and Minnesota.