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Rutgers Men’s Basketball

Rutgers Men’s Basketball

Rutgers Men’s Basketball

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MARCH 10: Zach Edey #15 and Mason Gillis #0 of the Purdue Boilermakers battle for a rebound with Caleb McConnell #22 and Clifford Omoruyi #11 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during the second half in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament at United Center on March 10, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

PURDUE 70 – RUTGERS 65

Rutgers hopes of stunning the world and capturing the program’s first Big Ten Tournament title came to an end Friday afternoon in a hard-fought 70-65 loss to Purdue at the United Center in downtown Chicago.

The Scarlet Knights (19-14, 11-11) now must await their postseason fate come Sunday night when the NCAA Tournament brackets are announced. Rutgers is hoping to get into the Big Dance for the third straight season.

Should the NCAA Tournament not be in the cards, there is always the NIT.

Derek Simpson continued his dominant efforts in the Big Ten Tournament, leading the Scarlet Knights with 18 points. Cam Spencer finished with 13 points and Clifford Omoruyi had 10 points and eight boards.

Rutgers had a tough time slowing down Purdue’s big two of Marcus Gillis (20-points on 7-of-8 shooting) and 7-foot-4 Zach Edey, who scored 16 points with 11 boards. David Jenkins Jr. contributed 12 points off the bench for the Boilermakers.

Rutgers jumped out to a 12-4 lead in the early stages of the first half before Purdue closed the gap. Purdue took its first lead late in the first half when Edey connected on a three-point play with a slam dunk and a free throw to put Purudue up 25-24 wit 1:59 to go.

After Antwone Winfield gave Rutgers the lead back on a jumper with 12 seconds to go, Mason Gillis answered with a three-pointer as time expired to send Purdue into the locker rooms with a 29-28 lead.

Both teams would exchange the lead for most of the second half before a 10-3 run by Purdue put the Boilermakers up eight with 3:48 to go.

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