Rutgers drops slow-paced away contest to Michigan, 62-47
Knights shoot 33 percent from field after 54-percent effort against Iowa
The Rutgers men's basketball team made the trip up to Ann Arbor over the weekend and received a loss for its troubles, as the Scarlet Knights (12-9, 2-6) dropped a 62-47 game to the Michigan Wolverines (17-5, 6-3) Sunday.
It was no Ohio State, and it was certainly no Iowa, with Rutgers following a very bad and very good game with a middling effort, failing to produce offensively, but still holding Michigan somewhat on defense.
The team lost the offensive rhythm it found last time out against the Hawkeyes, shooting 33 percent on the day, compared to its 54-percent output in the win over Iowa.
Similar to their game against Ohio State a week back, the Knights looked sluggish on offense in a contest that was largely flat as a whole, with the Wolverines working heavily from the outside.
The Rutgers offense primarily took to one-on-one matchups, with junior guard Corey Sanders and fifth-year senior forward Deshawn Freeman sizing up defenders and playing iso-ball for the majority of the game.
Despite not moving the ball around as much as they have in previous games — with the team not collecting its first assist until the second half — the Knights still committed a great deal of turnovers in what was a generally sloppy game on both sides, especially in the first half.
The teams went into the break amassing 14 turnovers total, a baffling statistic for the two best teams in terms of turnover margin in the Big Ten.
Even with the turnovers, the Wolverines carried their strong 3-point shooting prowess into Sunday's game, hitting 33 percent of their shots from beyond the arc.
The best perimeter defense in the conference once again found itself vulnerable from the 3-ball, after Iowa's Jordan Bohannon torched Rutgers from downtown midweek.
On Sunday, that came through Duncan Robinson, who almost single-handedly led a 13-0 run against the Knights early on to give Michigan a lead it would not give up. Robinson went 4-of-7 from 3 on the day.
It took time, but the Wolverines' offense, despite not shooting well as a whole, still found ways to score, while Rutgers did not. Michigan finished the day with 16 assists compared to the Knights' one, a product of the Wolverines coming out of the halftime break moving the ball around effectively.
Rutgers instead largely kept the same shape throughout, with Sanders and Freeman working the offense and the others creating space for the facilitators.
The two combined for 22 of the team's 51 shots Sunday, with Sanders putting in 12 points and Freeman scoring 11.
Sophomore forward Eugene Omoruyi joined them in leading the team in points, contributing 8 points and four rebounds in one of the few inspired efforts for the Knights off the bench.
As Michigan got itself out to a double-digit lead midway through the second half, there was a palpable lack of urgency from Rutgers, with the team content to keep to its slow-paced offense.
Even after the Knights lost their 8-2 lead from the beginning of the game, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that they would trail steadily behind for the remaining 30 or so minutes.
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