At one point, it was a no-brainer that Rutgers was heading to its third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.
After Thursday night, that is in question.
The Scarlet Knights led 70-60 with 1:15 remaining at Williams Arena in Minneapolis against a Minnesota team that was 1-16 in Big Ten play. Fast forward 75 seconds and Jamison Battle knocked down a three at the buzzer to sink the Scarlet Knights, 75-74.
Rutgers made it through the weakest part of its non-conference schedule unscathed but this adds a Quad 4 loss to go along with three Quad 3 losses.
At this point, there is not much to say. Everyone watched the game. Yes, Cliff Omoruyi logged a big double-double (23 points, 11 rebounds). Yes, Cam Spencer finished with 20 points on 7-for-11 from the field. At the end of the night, Rutgers suffers one of its worse losses in years.
The Scarlet Knights have now lost five of its last seven games. Let’s not forget that one of those was a miracle comeback against Penn State and the other was a one-point win against Wisconsin.
Rutgers shot 51.7% from the field and rebounded well but the struggles late in games has become a problem. And yes, the struggles of Paul Mulcahy have had ramifications in the second half.
The Scarlet Knights will close out the season at home on Saturday against Northwestern at Jersey Mike’s Arena before the start of the Big Ten Tournament.