February 20, 2021.
Purdue played like a team on a mission on Sunday night when the Scarlet Knights visited the Mackey Complex in West Lafayette. It was an 84-72 victory for Purdue snapping Rutgers’ four-game win streak against ranked opponents.
The Scarlet Knights entered the night as big underdogs on the road against a top-five opponent. Despite showing fight, the atmosphere and energy was just too much.
Purdue (24-4, 13-4) got off to a hot start scoring 45 points in the first half on 57.7% shooting. Once again, Rutgers (16-10, 10-6) had difficultly slowing down Trevion Williams, who finished with 11 points in the first 20 minutes.
The Boilermakers built a double-digit lead early on but Rutgers went on a 14-4 run to get within one with just over four minutes left. Purdue closed out the half with a 13-5 run of their own to get the lead back up to nine heading into the break. Cliff Omoruyi was called for a costly technical foul during that stretch.
Some foul trouble early in the second half allowed Purdue to build a 20-point lead. Rutgers had a run in them to cut the lead in half but struggled to get within single digits for the duration of the game. Caleb McConnell and Paul Mulcahy picked up their fourth fouls midway through the second half. McConnell would end up fouling out with 3:58 left.
Jaden Ivey did not have his best game from the floor but was able to get in the lane at will and draw fouls. He finished with 25 points going 15-for-18 from the free throw line.
Mulcahy led the way with 15 points and six assists while Cliff Omoruyi added 14 points.
This was a loss on the schedule from the beginning and not one that will impact the NCAA Tournament standing of Rutgers down the stretch. The Scarlet Knights will travel to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan on Wednesday before returning home to host No. 15 Wisconsin on Saturday.
Rutgers could put itself in a good position heading into the postseason if it can split the final four games of the season. A win in West Lafayette would have taken the Scarlet Knights’ resume to another level but a loss should not impact much.
In the end, the revenge factor was just too strong for the Boilermakers on Sunday night.