Cam Spencer, stingy defense propel Rutgers past Michigan

Cam Spencer scored a team-high 18 points and ninth-seeded Rutgers held eighth-seeded Michigan to just four made field goals in the second half to secure a 62-50 victory in the second round of the Big Ten tournament Thursday afternoon in Chicago.

Michigan led by three points at halftime before shooting just 4-of-21 the rest of the way, missing 16 of its first 17 tries and losing seven turnovers in the second half.

Freshman Derek Simpson, drawing just the fourth start of his career, scored nine of his 13 points and grabbed all five of his rebounds in the second half. His performance helped the Scarlet Knights (19-13) advance to face No. 1 seed Purdue in a quarterfinal game Friday.

Hunter Dickinson scored a game-high 24 points to carry the Wolverines (17-15), who are now in serious danger of missing the NCAA Tournament.

Rutgers won the battle on the boards 39-30, had a 10-4 advantage in steals and scored 18 points off Michigan’s 14 total turnovers.

Rutgers opened the second half with a 12-3 stretch, featuring 3-pointers by Spencer and Aundre Hyatt, to take a 37-31 lead. Michigan didn’t make a field goal until Dickinson knocked down a corner triple with 15:01 to play.

The Wolverines drew within 40-39 thanks to free throws, with Rutgers having entered the bonus less than nine minutes into the half. That’s when the Scarlet Knights scored 12 straight points to take control.

Simpson made a free throw and missed the second, but he easily grabbed his own rebound and laid it in for a three-point possession. Spencer made a 3-pointer to give Rutgers the game’s first double-digit margin at 50-39, and Simpson added a fast-break dunk with 5:52 to go.

Rutgers’ Paul Mulcahy (eight points, five rebounds, five assists) left the game late with an eye injury. Michigan made three shots in the final minute to make the final score respectable.

Michigan was ahead 23-17 when Jett Howard made a 3-pointer with 4:01 left in the first half. But Rutgers used an 8-0 run for its first lead.

Simpson helped on Dickinson at the low block and batted the ball out of his control for a steal, ultimately resulting in Oskar Palmquist’s game-tying free throws. Antwone Woolfolk jumped in front of a pass on Michigan’s next possession and took it coast to coast for a 25-23 Rutgers lead.

But Dickinson tied the game with a hook shot, part of his 13 first-half points, and Joey Baker beat the first-half buzzer with a 3-pointer to put the Wolverines up 28-25 at the break.

–Field Level Media

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