August 21, 2018 | ° F

Rutgers vs. No. 23 Michigan: Three Observations from a 62-47 loss

Photo by Jeffrey Gomez |

The Rutgers men's basketball team looked to stay hot against No. 23 Michigan in a Sunday afternoon matinee at the Chrysler Center in Ann Arbor.

But the Wolverines proved to be too much on both ends of the floor, wearing down the Scarlet Knights in a 62-47 loss for Rutgers.

The Knights finished with just one assist and shot 33.3 percent from the field. Corey Sanders led the team with 12 points while Deshawn Freeman pitched in a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Eugene Omoruyi continues to flash his potential

Omoruyi has continued to live up to the hype that his coaches provided before the season. He drew yet another charge against Michigan, making it 16 on the season and showing that he is one of the best in the Big Ten at that unique, but important skill. He contributed 8 points in the loss, but had two And-1 plays, made all of his free throws and looked like Rutgers' most formidable option scoring-wise. The team shouldn't have to rely on Omoruyi to be a primary scorer, but he continues to prove that he can get the tough points underneath the hoop and be the go-to big man when Deshawn Freeman graduates.

The offense was atrocious, again

Similar to their game against Ohio State, the Knights were just out of sorts on offense. Michigan's defense looked a lot better than the Buckeyes', but Rutgers also only logged one assist on Sunday. That is a number that is historically low and completely unacceptable for a Big Ten basketball team. Freeman forced a lot of shots in the paint, true freshman guard Geo Baker didn't look like he was getting his feet set for any of his three-pointers and Corey Sanders found himself in foul trouble and wasn't looking to pass.

Talent is an issue, as there aren't any consistent three-point scorers on the team, but the offensive schemes just don't seem to be working. The Knights have always been a careful group on offense, turning the ball over at the lowest rate among Big Ten teams. But they gave it away 13 times against the Wolverines and a 1:13 assist to turnover ratio is one that will likely never win games.

Rutgers can refocus with a manageable schedule going forward

There is no question that the Knights have played the toughest conference schedule to date of any Big Ten team. They have played every single tough team, including Michigan State twice and Purdue on the road. Rutgers still has to play Purdue and Ohio State again, but it has the Boilermakers at home and there are four games between that and the road contest against the Buckeyes.

Rutgers showed against Iowa how playing a brutal schedule prepared the team for middle of the road teams. The Knights' next three games are against Nebraska, Penn State and Illinois, all teams that are very beatable and that Rutgers should have no problem competing against. After dealing with all of those mentally and physically draining conference games early, the Knights are set up well to compete and potentially finish closer to the middle of the conference standings.

For updates on the Rutgers men's basketball team, follow @GriffinWhitmer and @TargumSports on Twitter.

Griffin Whitmer

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