Rutgers ground this one out folks. They defeated their nemesis,Iowa 48-46.
That’s a Steve Pikiell Win Right There: You thought that was ugly? I bet Steve Pikiell thought it was beautiful. I loved this game. The Scarlet Knights took nearly everything away from Iowa and ground them into dust on the defensive end. Airballs. Shot Clock violations. Rutgers stopped one of the most high powered offensive teams in the country and held them not just under the Steve Pikiell Speed Limit of 65 (Join the Pikiell Speed Limit Club), but essentially shut them down. Keegan Murray is the most prolific scorers in the nation and he only managed 13 points. The Scarlet Knights threw everyone at him. Mawot Mag, Ron Harper Jr., Caleb McConnell. Everyone. What a performance on the the defensive end.
Paul Mulcahy Stat Stuffer: When people remember this game, they are going to remember Ron Harper hitting free throws and Murray being unable to pull of a Joe Wieskamp impression. But do not underestimate how clutch Mulcahy was. He had 5 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists. He did a little bit of everything and keyed Rutgers when shots were going to down. In fact, I happened to look at the scoreboard tonight when Mulcahy got his 7th assist. At that time, Rutgers had only made 14 baskets. Mulcahy found open people.
The Offense Didn’t Click But They Got the Ball: I thought Rutgers moved the ball well and took open shots for the most part. But there was a lid on the rim tonight. The threes hardly went down and no one other that Harper scored in double digits. But what you had to like was the hustle. Rutgers wanted this win and was going to rebound their way into it. Cliff Omoruyi was dominant on the boards, with 14. The rest of the team tapped, tipped, fought and pulled down rebounds. It was one of Aaron’s keys in his preview and Rutgers out boarded Iowa 49 to 38.
Quad 1, Baby: Iowa was ranked 15th in the NET this morning. Rutgers took them down. They are now 5-2 in the Big Ten and putting together a nice little resume, starting to climb back into the Tournament talk. They are doing what they have to do to try and climb out of the hole they dug for themselves in November. You can see the grit on this team and how bad they want it now. The schedule is about two weeks away from getting tough. This win helps a lot. Now they have to win a couple of road games and continue to protect the RAC (okay, fine, JMA).