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Rutgers falls short of Michigan despite late game surge

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights fall on the road yet again, this time to a talented Michigan team, 69-63 at Madison Square Garden.

The 2019-2020 season has been filled with many challenges for this young Knights squad as they fall to 1-5 on the road, with their lone win coming from a porous Nebraska squad. If there was any time to prove to the NCAA Tournament Committee that you can win on the road, it was Saturday. The Wolverines were coming into Saturday’s game at 13-7 (3-6 in the Big 10). Not only were the Wolverines struggling, but they also had to come into Madison Square Garden, which is only 40 miles away from the RAC, leading to a predominantly Rutgers fan base.

Guard Montez Mathis led the way for the Knights with 17 points, followed by Akwasi Yeboah, Caleb McConnell, and Jacob Young all scoring 10 a piece. 

The story of the game came from Michigan’s shooting from downtown. As a team, Michigan shot a scorching hot 47% from three led by forward Brandon Johns Jr. The sophomore lead the way for the Wolverines, scoring a career high 20 points while shooting 4-7 from three. The Knights have had issues getting out to shooters in the past and in this game it really showed. 

Foul trouble was also a major issue for the Knights as the Wolverines got to the line 24 times to the Rutgers 5. A lot of this was due to the tough task of guarding Jon Teske and defending their pick and roll. 

 “We have to do a better job. We made a few adjustments. But, Teske’s 7-foot-1. He’s good. And they have a senior point guard that leads the nation in assists. They have some elite players. Obviously our pick-and-roll defense wasn’t elite and it needed to be. But we still had chances to win. And that’s a good sign. We’re one of the youngest teams in the league. We’re going to have games like that. I liked our grit and our toughness. It’s not getting any easier down the stretch.”

There’s a lot of takeaways from Saturday’s Matchup, and the big one will be that the Knights had their chances. From missed free throws to costly turnovers, the Knights have problems that can be fixed coming into Tuesday’s tough road matchup against the #15 ranked Maryland Terrapins at 6:30 on Big Ten Network.

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