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Rutgers men's basketball team defeats Minnesota to extend winning streak

Junior guard Paul Mulcahy, senior guard Caleb McConnell and junior center Myles Johnson helped the Scarlet Knights increase their winning streak in Big Ten play.  – Photo by The Daily Targum

The Rutgers men's basketball team has now extended its win streak to four games, which is its longest since joining the Big Ten, after beating Minnesota 76-72 on the Banks. After a rough stretch, having lost five in a row before the current streak, the Scarlet Knights (11-6, 7-6) have found their way to a .538 winning percentage in their conference, while improving to 11-6 in the season.

Throughout the game, it was an even matchup, where the leads for either team were slim for the duration of the contest. The first half started out with Rutgers getting to an early lead with a three-pointer from sophomore guard Paul Mulcahy off an assist from senior guard Geo Baker.

After jumping to a quick 9-0 lead in the early minutes of the half, the Golden Gophers (11-7, 4-7) found themselves back in the game by tying it within a matter of minutes with the score even at 21-21.

The end of the half resulted in Minnesota finding itself with a lead at 37-35. The Gophers had players such as Marcus Carr, who had 18 points in the game, along with his fellow teammate Liam Robbins, who was battling in the paint with the Knights' junior center Myles Johnson. Johnson won more rebounds with 12, in comparison to Robbins' 7. 

Come the half, Rutgers looked to keep its streak alive. But Minnesota kept the Knights at bay until Rutgers went on a run, capped off with a three-pointer by junior guard Caleb McConnell, paving the Knights a road to victory.

Baker found himself in the middle of the action toward the end of the game, which had 22 lead changes. His 16 points led Rutgers in scoring.

“Every single day, we're trying to make a new piece of history," Baker said in his post-game interview. "Those last couple of possessions, we dug deep."

The Knights' head men's basketball coach Steve Pikiell knew that this game was challenging but was proud of his guys for coming out on top. 

"That was an old-fashioned grinder," Pikiell said. "I'm proud of our team for getting our fourth straight league win."

With another win, Rutgers is closer to the chance of dancing in March during the NCAA Tournament.

Next Wednesday at 7 p.m., the Knights go on the road against No. 8 Iowa.

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

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