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Rutgers Misses Opportunity Against Penn State

During its second year in the Big Ten Conference, the Rutgers men’s basketball team has struggled to defeat anyone in a close game.

Every time it seems the Scarlet Knights have had an opportunity to grab a conference win, the chance has slipped through their hands.

Against its most recent opponent, Penn State, the chance was there again for Rutgers.

With 14:23 remaining in the second half, the Knights led the Nittany Lions 37-35. They were playing strong defense and getting enough baskets on the offensive end to stay with the Nittany Lions.

But in the four-minute sequence that followed, Rutgers lost the lead and any chance to win the game.

Penn State went on a 15-0 run to open up a 50-37 advantage with 10 minutes remaining, and never looked back on the Knights.

In the end, the Nittany Lions won by a final score of 70-58.

The loss drops the Scarlet Knights to 6-21 overall on the season, and have lost their past 14 games in a row.

The Nittany Lions represented one of the best chances for the Knights to get a win in the Big Ten this year, a prospect that looks less likely to occur with each passing game.

Coming into the game, Penn State was one of only two teams with a lower offensive field goal percentage than Rutgers, and the only team with a lower scoring offense and three-point field goal percentage.

Yet these numbers meant little in the contest, as the Nittany Lions poured in nine three-pointers on 41 percent shooting. The 70 points given up by the Knights was only the second time in the last five games where Penn State broke the 70-point mark.

Pacing the Knights in this contest was freshman forward Jonathan Laurent. Pressed into the starting center role for much of the conference season, Laurent has played as well as anyone could have predicted thus far. The freshman dropped his third double-double of the season, scoring 19 points to go along with 15 rebounds.

Without freshman guard Corey Sanders, who is in the midst of a two-week suspension for violating team rules, Laurent was featured more on the offensive end.

Senior guard Bishop Daniels and sophomore forward D.J. Foreman also scored in double figures for the Knights, adding 13 and 10 points respectively.

With four games remaining on their schedule, the Knights will look to steal a win away to avoid going winless in conference play.

Next up for Rutgers is a trip to Minneapolis to face Minnesota this Tuesday.

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