Avoided a Trap: Rutgers could’ve easily overlooked Minnesota tonight and focused on MSU this Saturday, but they didn’t. They were locked in from the start and looked truly dominant the whole game. A 35-point win is exactly what Rutgers needed coming off a loss to Iowa, and that’s what they delivered tonight. This was a big win for Rutgers, simply because they avoided a big loss.
Great Offense: For the first time in Big Ten play, Rutgers scored 80+ points in back-to-back conference games, not bad for a defense-first team. They also broke a program record for assists in a game (previously set last game at Iowa) with 30 of them. Six different players scored in double figures, not including Paul Mulcahy who had five points and nine assists (he hit 400 career assists today). Rutgers shot 10-of-20 from three and shot almost 60% from the field. An improved offense is extremely encouraging to see. While Rutgers won’t score 90 every game, a more efficient offense is certainly an obtainable goal for the rest of the season.
Cam got Back to his Game: Spencer has certainly been struggling recently. He came into this game four for his last 21 from three, but those issues didn’t seem to plague him tonight. “The Camdy Man” scored 17 points on 5-of-6 shooting and 3-of-3 from beyond the arc. He also dished six assists and made all four of his free throw attempts. Rutgers wasn’t gonna last forever without significant offense from Spencer, hopefully, he’s found his game for the rest of the season.
Need to Rebound: If you want to nitpick an issue from a 35-point win (and at Rutgers we do) it would have to be the rebounding tonight. While Minnesota didn’t outrebound the Scarlet Knights, they did grab 12 offensive rebounds, and in a closer game, that’s something Rutgers will need to clean up. Having Cliff off the court for an extended period of time in the first half certainly didn’t help in this regard.
Got the Backups In: Being up by a lot allowed Coach Pikiell to get loads of playing time for his reserves. Oskar Palmquist had just 6 points on the season, but came in and scored 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting. Hyatt scored in double-figures off the bench once again, and Reiber added four points as well. Not only was it encouraging to get the extras in the game, they played extremely well. Definitely fun to watch those guys get some time.
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