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Rapid Reaction Video & Recap: Rutgers loses to Iowa 76-65



Photo credit Rutgers Athletics

Rutgers men’s basketball suffered a 76-65 loss at home to Iowa on Sunday. It was a disappointing performance to end what has been overall a very good week for the program. After a road win at No. 1 Purdue followed by a 14 point against Maryland, the Scarlet Knights were out of sync on both ends of the floor against the Hawkeyes.

Offensively, Rutgers struggled against the Iowa zone. They shot just 38% from the floor, 28% from three-point range and made only 12 of 29 layups and dunks.

Defensively, the Scarlet Knights were slow on their rotations as Iowa was crisp with ball reversals and finding open shooters. They made RU pay as the Hawkeyes shot 12 of 27 from three-point range for 44% in the game. Iowa plays at a fast pace and Steve Pikiell’s team was unable to slow them down.

While Rutgers held Iowa to 45% shooting overall, forced 15 turnovers and six points below their season scoring average, they couldn’t get out of the big hole they fell into early in the game. After cutting the deficit to 36-30, Iowa ended the first half on a 6-0 run. In the second half RU cut it to 55-50 before the Hawkeyes ended the game on a 21-15 run.

Paul Mulcahy was the catalyst for Rutgers in wins over No. 1 Purdue and Maryland, but he struggled in this game. He was just 2 of 10 from the floor for 7 points along with 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 0 turnovers.

On the positive end of things, Cam Spencer continues to prove how important he is to this team. He had a third straight very good game and finished with 13 points including 3 of 6 from behind the arc, as well as 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. In the 30 minutes he was on the court, Rutgers outscored Iowa by 2 points. In the 10 minutes he was off the floor, RU was outscored by the Hawkeyes by 13 points. His impact on this team can no longer be understated.

Caleb McConnell also played well for Rutgers. He scored 12 points on 6 of 8 from the floor along with 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals.

Cliff Omoruyi finished with 9 points on 3 of 8 shooting, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks. He still isn’t making the impact on offense as defenses continue to deny him entry passes while his positioning near the rim is not strong.

Mawot Mag added 9 points and 5 rebounds while Derek Simpson added 8 points off the bench. However, they combined to shoot just 6 of 21 from the floor.

In my rapid reaction video, I discuss the struggles in this game for Rutgers and the impact of the loss. I also cover the positives overall from this week and the importance of next week for the Scarlet Knights.

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  1. BataliBoli98

    January 8, 2023 at 9:17 pm

    Looking forward to watching your video recap. That said, a few random thoughts:
    1. How Mulcahy was not used more in the paint/around the foul line against the zone is beyond me. Get him to the middle and let him facilitate from there. His overall lack of assertiveness yet again was very frustrating.
    2. I noted in my previous post that I don’t like these noon starts and the fact that Iowa, after losing their first three B1G games, had just had a great comeback win made me nervous.
    3. I typically think that Pikiell’s substitution patterns are great, but down 7 with five minutes left is not a time for Spencer to be on the bench.
    4. Edey, TJD, Dickinson, and others must be doubled in the post. I thought that today it was not necessary and time and again led to kick-outs for open looks and RU’s defense scrambling and out of position for rebounds.
    5. While I very much appreciate Mag’s contributions, and he overall played well in this game, he should not be taking 3s unless the shot clock is running down and I cringe when he puts his head down in transition and barrels (Mathis like) to the basket. He’s so good on put backs and even short jumpers. Just do that.
    6. RU just ran into an unconscious shooter in the second half. That happens. That said, as you pointed out the game was lost in the first half.

    • Henry Rutgers

      January 9, 2023 at 12:21 am

      You put so much more thought and effort into your observations than I did. As weird as it sounds the first thing I noticed was Caleb McConnell went back to his old hair style. He looked awesome against Maryland (so my wife said — that’s my story and I’m sticking with it). Secondly, I was just disgusted from the first missed layup to the end. It was a putrid performance. I’m mystified by the reasons. The players that play didn’t. I have a huge amount of respect for Coach Pikiell but I feel like we were out coached. Iowa was ready for our defense, and I think out defended us. Our offense took the day off. Did Cliff have any dunks? If I’m looking for a positive, the crowd stayed with the team until the end. They never gave up even when we were down by double digits. OSU next weekend should be a war. I hope the Rutgers we know and love shows up.

  2. FlaRef

    January 9, 2023 at 1:23 am

    Three games in five days takes a toll on the players. As stated, they were a step slow and were not in the game from the jump. Pike is a class act and sang the praises of Iowa coach and players after the game and made no excuses for the loss. Turn the page and get ready for the next game and the grind ahead. Willard was right about the B1G schedule makers hurting the league too.

  3. FlaRef

    January 9, 2023 at 2:36 am

    DL from Ole Miss via transfer portal just committed to RU…big get!

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