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Rutgers suffers 58-45 loss to Michigan: Rapid Reaction Video & Recap



Feb 23, 2023; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights center Clifford Omoruyi (11) is fouled by Michigan Wolverines center Hunter Dickinson (1) during the first half at Jersey Mike's Arena. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

With Rutgers leading Michigan 13-3 to start the game, the opportunity to deliver a knockout blow was on the table. And then the Wolverines responded as Cliff Omoruyi and Paul Mulcahy were on the bench. The Scarlet Knights got tight and never recovered. It resulted in a very disappointing 58-45 loss, the team’s second straight defeat at the RAC.

I wrote that Rutgers should expect Michigan’s best on Thursday in what was a must win for the program. It was arguably the best defensive performance of the Wolverines season.

A key moment in the game was when Paul Mulcahy converted a three-point play the hard way to cut the Michigan lead to 40-38 with 10:00 left to play. The Wolverines rattled off a 18-5 run before Derek Simpson scored in the closing seconds. RU made just three field goals in the final ten minutes of the game.

The strange part of the game was that Rutgers was good defensively. They held Michigan 15 points below their scoring average in Big Ten play and shot just 41% from the floor. Their defense made it a much closer game than it should have been.

The key to the loss was the inability of RU to execute on the offensive end. They shot just 38% from the floor, were just 5 of 18 on layups and 5 of 16 from the foul line. Rutgers committed 13 turnovers, while Michigan had 10. However, the key was that the Wolverines held a 17-3 advantage in points off of turnover. They also only had 6 offensive rebounds and 7 second chance points.

Cam Spencer led RU with 11 points on 5 of 12 shooting along with 7 rebounds and 3 steals.

Cliff Omoruyi had another double double with 10 points on 5 of 10 shooting along with 10 rebounds and 2 blocks. Rutgers was -11 when Omoruyi was off the floor in this game.

The Scarlet Knights are now 17-11 overall and 9-8 in Big Ten play. Their KenPom ranking fell from No. 27 to No. 33 after their second worst offensive efficiency rating of the season.

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  1. Henry Rutgers

    February 24, 2023 at 2:52 pm

    As always, I enjoy the timeliness, quality and format of The Scarlet Faithful. Your previous affiliation asked a question about the fan base being panicked prior to the game. I elected to say I’d revisit the question after the MU game. I am officially among the panicked. What a terrible, terrible performance. Foul shooting has regressed to somewhere approaching comical. Turnovers and rebounding were mindless. I wanted to rush on to the court several times as our players stood and starred at loose balls and rebounds. The lack of discipline and preparation for which I fault our coaching staff was at Lafayette levels. Oh, and would someone see what Hyatt’s blood alcohol content was. I got a sharp elbow in the gut from my wife when I cheered loudly at one of his misses. My wife demanded to know what I was thinking. I told her at least he hit the backboard with the shot. Yes, I am now panicked. We had a full house. We wore black. We screamed our lungs out. We even had Pacheco in the house. This was an embarrassment of monumental proportions. My question is whether this staff has the ability to regroup and salvage what’s left. I stand by the athletes that represent our university and state. The collective talent is there.

    • John Catapano

      February 24, 2023 at 3:52 pm

      Extremely disappointing loss. Agree that there is no cause for booing the players. Absolutely unacceptable.

      The defense is fine. What can they do to run a competent offense? They are not winning games shooting 3s. They need to drive to the basket and they need to finish.

      • Henry Rutgers

        February 24, 2023 at 5:10 pm

        I’m glad you mentioned the booing, John. I commented in Aaron’s former forum that the booing of players is undeserved and unbecoming. I said:

        As a fan I was traumatized. I’ve seen thousands of sporting event. I’ve seen our teams at their best and worst. If I’ve ever booed at a game, it was at a referee’s call: not an opponent and certainly not at our own team. As frustrating as the game was, as bad as we played booing our own players is about as bad as it gets. We can never forget that these young men work hard in school, on the court and in the community to represent our university and state. They are competitors. None were happy with the performance. Each one probably is agonizing over what they personally could have done to change the outcome. Booing our own team is unbecoming and underserved.

  2. thevinman

    February 25, 2023 at 1:08 am

    I was more disappointed in how we lost than the loss itself. I knew the game would be tough because Michigan is big, talented and they are playing very well right now. However, we almost gave them the game on horrid FT shooting alone. The amount of points we lost is bigger than just the number of missed free throws as many of them were the front end of a one and one.

    We desperately need Paul to try and shoot more because it seems he is just dribbling away the shot clock and then trying to force a passe.

    Kudos to Caleb as he did an excellent job despite not having practiced and being less than 100% due to his back injury.

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