The first time came at a most opportune time. Rutgers defeated Michigan 75-67 at Jersey Mike’s Arena on Tuesday. It was Rutgers’ first ever win over the Wolverines. The wait turned out to be worth it. The numbers:
Offensive efficiency: Rutgers 112, Michigan 100
eFG: Rutgers 58%, Michigan 48%
Ft rate: Rutgers 30%, Michigan 22%
OREB ptc: Rutgers 24%, Michigan 17%
TO rate: Michigan 12%, Rutgers 15%
Geo Baker was the KENPOM MVP. Baker scored a game high 27 points, pulled down four rebounds and handed out four assists in 39 minutes. Good, solid numbers across the board.
The most impressive aspect of the Senior guard’s game was coming out and setting the tone. Baker found the range on a few early attempts beyond the arc. That got Steve Pikiell’s club off to a good start and seemed to raise the confidence level. On the night, Rutgers a 32% (222nd nationally) three point shooting team, went 11 of 23 (48%) from downtown.
Ron Harper jr. added 20 points for the Scarlet Knights. Hunter Dickinson paced the Wolverines with a 25 point, 5 rebound effort.
Rutgers improved to 8-5 (2-1 B10) while Michigan is now 7-6 (1-2). Next up for Rutgers is a home date with Nebraska on Saturday.
Not having a banner season Michigan posed a threat to Rutgers. As noted the Scarlet Knights had never beaten the Wolverines. Juwan Howard and co. represented one of the Big Ten’s stronger teams that Rutgers needed to get past to gain momentum early in conference play. Nebraska is 6-8 and winless (0-3) in Big Ten play. Kenpom predict a 74-67 Rutgers victory. Predictions aside, this looms as an important contest for the host five. This is a team Rutgers can beat but needs to focus on and be ready for. As they were on Tuesday night.