The historic year continues for the Scarlet Knights.
On Tuesday night, Rutgers used the three-point line to pickup a 75-67 over Michigan. This was its first victory over Michigan in program history. The Scarlet Knights entered Tuesday’s game 0-14 against the Wolverines all-time and 0-9 since joining the Big Ten.
This comes after the Scarlet Knights took down the No. 1 team in the nation for the first time when Purdue came to Jersey Mike’s Arena in December. Rutgers (8-5, 2-1) continues to defend home court and they did so using the three-point line and of course — Geo Baker and Ron Harper Jr.
The Scarlet Knights finished 11-for-23 from beyond the arc while Baker led the team with 27 points, 4 assists and 4 rebounds. Harper Jr. added 20 points, six rebounds and three steals.
Michigan (7-6, 1-2) entered the game shorthanded with some key pieces off the bench out. The starting lineup was intact for the Wolverines but they lacked depth, which put pressure on the first unit to get it done. Early on, Michigan looked a bit off defensively.
The Wolverines ranked 20th nationally allowing opponents to shoot just 27.5% from three-point range. Rutgers got comfortable in the first half finishing 7-for-13 from deep. This allowed the Scarlet Knights to open up as large as a 16 point lead over the first 20 minutes.
This is a trend that hurt Michigan in their previous game when UCF finished 12-for-20 from three-point territory. UCF also got their stars going — as did Rutgers. Baker and Harper Jr. combined for 26 points on 9-of-13 shooting.
With the bench depleted, Michigan relied heavily on their big names. Hunter Dickinson was able to get his with 25 points but the Scarlet Knights made it difficult from the opening possession. Cliff Omoruyi was able to stay out of foul trouble and remain on the floor to go toe-to-toe with a Preseason All-American.
The second half saw the lead balloon to 17 with 13:13 left in the contest. Michigan was able to go on a run to get its deficit back to just seven with six minutes left but a Caleb McConnell three-pointer got the lead back to double-digits. This seemed to be the theme of the night for Rutgers.
McConnell struggled with his shot to begin the season and was just 3-for-8 against Michigan. He continues to be one of the most-important players for the Scarlet Knights because of his defensive ability. He finished with five rebounds and four assists to go with nine points.
Omoruyi scored just four points but grabbed 12 rebounds and 2 blocks. Paul Mulcahy continues to run the offense well and added seven more assists tonight with just one turnover.
All of a sudden, the schedule is easing up for the Scarlet Knights. Coming into the year, Rutgers was slated to play the teams that were top-three in the preseason standings. They were able to bounce back from a blowout loss to Illinois with victories over Purdue and Michigan.
Rutgers will be back in action on Saturday against Nebraska. This comes before meetings against Penn State, Maryland, Iowa, and Minnesota.
At the end of the day, if a team makes shots, that team is going to have a better chance to win. That is what Rutgers did on Tuesday night and that is what they are hoping to continue into a lighter part of the schedule. And of course, Baker and Harper Jr. going off does not hurt either.