Rutgers has taken down the No. 1 team in the nation — and it was against a familiar foe.
After leading for much of the season half against Purdue, the Scarlet Knights found themselves behind in front of a full-throated crowd at Mackey Arena after Fletcher Loyer hit a three-pointer with 30 seconds left. On the ensuing possession, Paul Mulcahy backed down his defender and found Cam Spencer on the perimeter. After a pump fake, Spencer of took advantage of some open space and hit the game-winning three with 14 seconds left.
The Scarlet Knights went to West Lafayette and earned a 65-64 victory over No. 1 Purdue.
Rutgers has now won six of its last seven games against Purdue and marks the second consecutive season where they have taken down the Boilers when they were at the top of the rankings. It might not have been at the buzzer but Spencer (14 points) hit a shot that will be remembered for quite some time on the way to picking up what could be the best win of Steve Pikiell’s tenure.
The Scarlet Knights, who entered No. 18 on KenPom, showed no fear on the road. They built a lead early using strong defense, forcing 13 turnovers for the game and holding Purdue to 39% shooting (24% in the first half). Early in the second, Rutgers built a 13-point lead but knew that it was not going to be easy.
The Boilermakers got Zach Edey involved more in the second half. He spent time on the bench due to early foul trouble but finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Purdue used a 10-1 run to get within four midway through the second half and Rutgers was up for the challenge. Mulcahy totaled 16 points, eight rebounds, and six assists. The senior guard made play after players down the stretch to keep his team in front.
Rutgers will be back in action on Thursday night hosting Maryland. Just three games in, the Scarlet Knights have solidified their spot in the race with a 2-1 start and signature victory of the season.