Rutgers returned to its roots Tuesday, shutting down Penn State’s perimeter shooting in a lopsided win that kept the Scarlet Knights in second place in the Big Ten.
Now Rutgers (14-6, 6-3) will aim for some payback on Sunday when it visits Iowa (12-8, 4-5) for another conference showdown in Iowa City.
In the teams’ first matchup on Jan. 8, the Hawkeyes cracked the code on Rutgers’ league-leading defense in a 76-65 win, connecting on 12 of 27 3-pointers and drawing 17 assists on 25 made baskets.
Michigan State gave the Scarlet Knights similar problems on Jan. 19, drilling 12 of 22 3-pointers during a 70-57 win. Rutgers didn’t allow Penn State, a prolific shooting team from distance, the same opportunity. The Nittany Lions missed 22 of their 26 3-point attempts in a 65-45 loss.
“I thought we did a really good job defending, right back to Rutgers basketball the way we defended for 40 minutes,” said Scarlet Knights coach Steve Pikiell. “Great team win. Everyone contributed.”
Clifford Omoruyi led the way with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Aundre Hyatt scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half. Hyatt went on a personal 8-0 run that helped put Penn State away.
Omoruyi paces Rutgers with 13.3 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.
Meanwhile, Iowa is coming off a 63-61 loss Thursday night at Michigan State. The Hawkeyes outshot the Spartans from the field but damaged their chances with poor foul shooting and 13 turnovers.
The Hawkeyes made just 6 of 13 foul shots, far below their norm of 72.6 percent, and allowed Michigan State to connect on 8 of 20 3-pointers.
“You’re leaving more points up there that you’re not getting,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “You’re playing a game in the low 60s. Every point is critical.”
Kris Murray leads the Hawkeyes with 20.6 points and 8.8 rebounds per game but was limited to 11 points on 5-of-13 shooting at Michigan State. Ahron Ulis scored a team-high 17 points against the Spartans and Filip Rebraca had 16 points and 11 rebounds.
–Field Level Media