Rutgers Men’s Basketball

Rutgers Men’s Basketball

Rutgers Men’s Basketball

Derek Simpson (0 in middle) talks to his teammates during a 62-50 win over Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament. Photo: Rutgers Athletics.

The Rutgers men’s basketball team is moving on to the Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals! The Scarlet Knights advanced after an impressive 62-50 victory over the Michigan Wolverines on Thursday afternoon at the United Center in Chicago.

Rutgers (19-13, 11-10) moves on to face Purdue in the quarterfinals on Friday at 12 noon. Rutgers has won five of its last six match-ups with the top ranked Boilermakers, including a thrilling 65-64 victory in West Lafayette back on January 2 that was — at the time — Purdue’s first loss of the year.

Against Michigan on Thursday, Cam Spencer (18-points) and Derek Simpson (13 points) proved to be the keys to victory for the Scarlet Knights. Both players combined to connect on 12 of 27 shots, as Rutgers shot 39 percent from the field as a team.

After falling behind 7-0, and trailing for much of the first half, Rutgers fought back to tie the game twice in the late stages as Antwone Woolfolk, Oscar Palmquist and Derek Simpson powered Rutgers on a 10-3 run to take a brief 25-23 lead with 1:25 to go before halftime.

In the second half, Rutgers dominated inside the paint, and were incredible aggressively off the glass defensively. RU outscored Michigan 37-22 in the second half as they ran away with things. Clifford Omoruyi’s layup at the start of the second got the ball rolling. After a missed jumper by Hunter Dickinson, Derek Simpson made the Wolverines pay with a jumper of his own to put Rutgers up 29-28. Seconds later, Cam Spencer nailed a three-pointer to put Rutgers up three.

Caleb McConnell’s jumper and Aundre Hyatt’s three-ball helped Rutgers build a six-point lead, 37-31, with 15:33 to go.

Midway through the second half, Rutgers orchestrated a 12-0 run to blow the game wide open. Spencer’s three pointer with 6:33 followed by Simpson’s dunk put the game away at 52-39.

Rutgers victory ties the program’s best defensive performance in a Big Ten Tournament game.

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