It was a battle between the Big Ten’s top defensive team and highest-scoring team.
Rutgers entered the weekend allowing just 62.5 points per game while Iowa was scoring 86.7, including 91 on its home floor.
The Hawkeyes hit their season average with a consistent performance across 40 minutes on the offensive side of the floor. The Scarlet Knights could not find the answer defensively during an 86-77 loss in Iowa City.
Rutgers now falls to 0-3 in conference play and sits at the bottom of the Big Ten. After Iowas victory, the Scarlet Knights are now the only team in the conference without a victory.
Iowa (9-6, 1-3) wasted no time taking control, opening the game on an 11-3 run that quickly turned into a 19-5 lead. Rutgers spent the first half attempting to get within striking distance and back-to-back three’s by Mawot Mag did just that. Rutgers trailed by seven heading into halftime. Mag led the Scarlet Knights with 24 points on 7-for-15 from the floor.
In the second half, Iowa kept Rutgers (8-6, 0-3) at arms length, building a lead as high as 17 with under six minutes to play.
Rutgers out rebounded Iowa 46-36 but continued to struggle from three-point range. The Scarlet Knights were 6-for-19 from deep while Iowa was 7-for-14. The inside presence was nonexistent for Rutgers and it is becoming a bit of a concern for the Scarlet Knights. Cliff Omoruyi had just four shot attempts and finished with six points.
The Scarlet Knights got two buckets very late which made the final score look closer than it was. Rutgers has been a strong defensive team but struggled to slow down the high-powered Hawkeyes. If Rutgers scores 77 points, it is expected to be a win.
Rutgers now falls to 0-6 against Quad 1 teams. It is the first week of the season and Rutgers is in danger of seeing its season end. The Scarlet Knights will be back in action on Tuesday against Indiana, who is now considered a Quad 3 opponent. If that is a loss, the Scarlet Knights can all but forget about any hopes of returning to the NCAA Tournament.
Rutgers fans, help is on the way but it is not coming this season. This team will have to find its identity fast, especially on the offensive end of the floor.