Rutgers delivered a classic performance on Tuesday night. In front of their home fans, Steve Pikiell’s team dominated in a 65-45 victory over Penn State. The Scarlet Knights held the Nittany Lions to 33% shooting and just 4 of 26 from three-point range for 12%. It was a tremendous defensive effort that we’ve come to expect with this group. RU shot 46% from the floor and made 15 of 19 shot from the foul line (79%) while finishing with four scorers in double figures.
Cliff Omoruyi dominated inside early on in this game to get Rutgers out in front. RU led for over 38 minutes and his ability to get good looks at the rim off of solid post moves was key. He finished with 6 points on 6 of 7 shooting, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks.
In the second half, Penn State was moving the ball well and cut the lead to 3 points. It was 39-36 with 13:08 to play. Rutgers responded by closing out the game on a 26-9 run led by Aundre Hyatt’s scoring outburst. After not making a field goal in his previous two and a half games, Hyatt scored 14 second half points. He dunked it in the half court before connecting on back to back threes. It extended the RU lead to 51-38 with just over eight minutes remaining. The RAC was hopping. Hyatt finished with 14 points on 6 of 12 shooting, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, a block and a steal.
PSU never recovered and Caleb McConnell played really well down the stretch. He returned with 3 fouls and played with poise. His block of Penn State star Jalen Pickett was a huge play late. It cemented the fact that Rutgers dominated on the defensive end. McConnell finished with 10 points on 3 of 7 shooting, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, a block and a steal.
Rutgers held a 34-19 advantage with points in the paint and finished with a +17 rebounding margin. The Scarlet Knights did a good job finishing around the rim in shooting 14 of 20 (70%) on layups and dunks.
While Penn State’s best three players all scored in double digits with Jalen Pickett finishing with 15 points along with Seth Lundy and Andrew Funk finishing with 12 points apiece, the rest of the team had just six points on 3 of 20 shooting.
RU is now in sole possession of second place in the Big Ten with a 6-3 record and are 14-6 overall. They’re on the road Sunday at Iowa with a chance at getting even after losing to the Hawkeyes at the RAC a few weeks ago.
Watch game highlights, the postgame pressers and more here.
Here is my rapid reaction video where I discuss key takeaway from this game and why appreciating this team after wins and losses is important.
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