Rutgers was unable to slow down a number of huge runs by Michigan State, falling to the Spartans 70-57 on the road Thursday night. Rutgers drops to 13-6 on the year and 5-3 in the Big Ten, which actually ties them with the Spartans. The two teams will meet again in two weeks at Madison Square Garden for the Super Saturday Classic.
Junior center Clifford Omoruyi led the way with 12 points and 12 boards for his seventh double-double of the season. Senior guard Paul Mulcahy also contributed 12 points.
“Give Michigan State a ton of credit,” Head Coach Steve Pikiell said. “Coach Tom Izzo does a great job, and they really shot the ball extremely well. I really thought we could defend them. Their transition hurt us and we got some good looks too. You have got to make a few on the road, you got to play better than that on the road to beat a Hall of Fame coach with the fan base here and tough place to play”
Senior Caleb McConnell’s 11 points moved him past Geo Baker for fourth all time in program history.
Rutgers jumped out to a fast start, leading Michigan State 14-5 in the early stages, but the Spartans wouldn’t be denied. An 11-2 run, highlighted by back-to-back-to-back three pointers by Michigan State put RU in an 36-28 hole in the late stages of the first half.
In the second half, Rutgers was able to trim the deficit thanks to a layup by Mulcahy and a pair of free throws from Omoruyi, but runs of 9-0 and 10-2 by Michigan State pushed the Spartans to a lead of 13 points, 62-49 with 2:46 to go in the game.