The Rutgers men’s basketball team will travel to the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Michigan, to face off against Michigan State tomorrow night. The No. 23 Scarlet Knights (13-5, 5-2) hope to extend their winning streak to three games and remain second in the Big Ten standings.
Rutgers earned a hard-fought overtime victory against Ohio State on Sunday. Both teams had a chance to win the game late in regulation, but Brice Sensabaugh and senior guard Cam Spencer could not get their shots to fall. The game remained close in overtime until junior forward Mawot Mag hit a corner three-point shot to give the Knights a 4-point lead with 38 seconds left. Rutgers would end up winning the game 68-64.
The Knights now face the Spartans (12-6, 4-3) who sit one game back of Rutgers in the Big Ten standings. Michigan State is in the midst of a two-game losing streak. On Monday, the Spartans lost a 1-point game to Purdue. The game was close throughout the second half, and Michigan State took a 1-point lead with 11 seconds left. But the Spartans ultimately could not hang on as a baby-hook shot from Zach Edey gave the No. 3 Boilermakers (17-1, 6-1) a 1-point lead with 3 seconds remaining, securing the win.
With a top-70 adjusted offensive efficiency and a top-40 adjusted defensive efficiency, Michigan State is a relatively balanced team. The Spartans are also a strong three-point shooting team as they are shooting 36.7 percent from beyond the arc.
Michigan State has a well-rounded team and is led by Tyson Walker and Joey Hauser. Walker leads the team averaging 14.8 points per game (PPG), shooting 44.6 percent from the field and 41 percent from three-point range. Hauser is a three-level scorer and is averaging 13.4 PPG. He also leads the team with 7.8 rebounds per game (RPG).
The rebounding battle will be key for both teams. Rutgers is the second-best offensive rebounding team in the Big Ten corralling in 12.3 offensive RPG. Michigan State is a great defensive rebounding team as the program leads the Big Ten with 28 defensive rebounds per game.
The Knights will continue to rely on their vaunted defense to win games. Rutgers is the third-best team in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency. Opponents are averaging 16.4 turnovers per game against the Knights.
Spencer and fifth-year senior guard Caleb McConnell have been crucial on the defensive end. Both Spencer and McConnell are top three in the Big Ten in steals, while junior center Clifford Omoruyi also chips in on the defensive side of the ball with 2.1 blocks per game.
Offensively, Rutgers is led by Spencer and Omoruyi. Spencer leads the team scoring 13.9 PPG and also averages 3.7 assists per game. Omoruyi is averaging 13.2 PPG and leads the team with 10.1 RPG, a double-double.
The game will tip off at 6:30 p.m. and will be broadcasted on Fox Sports 1 and 88.7 WRSU-FM.
"When we do us, and we play us, then we get us results," said McConnell.
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