Coming into Tuesday night’s game, Rutgers was tied with Michigan for second place in the Big Ten basketball standings with a 5-3 conference record. Penn State came into the game just one game behind them, at 4-4, and leading the rest of the pack trying to make a push for the top spots in the conference.
Although the two schools were only separated by one game, it was clear that Rutgers was the better team in the second half. Penn State was able to stick around until the Scarlet Knights pulled away for good with 13 minutes left in the second half.
Rutgers Basketball Defeats Penn State, 65-45
Penn State came into the game as one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country, but they finished Tuesday night shooting just 4/26 (15.4%) from long range. The Nittany Lions had hit eight or more threes in 18/19 games to start the season, but they couldn’t buy a three tonight. Penn State’s shooting woes, combined with a fantastic second half from Aundre Hyatt, moves Rutgers to sole possession of second place in the Big Ten basketball standings.
Rutgers will look to keep their momentum going Sunday when they travel to face the Iowa Hawkeyes on the road. Penn State will travel back to University Park where they will host Michigan next Sunday.
Aundre Hyatt Takes Over Late
This season, Aundre Hyatt has been a completely different player in the second half. While he has struggled all season to get going early, Hyatt has been able to erupt in the second half of games. Against Penn State, he showed up when it mattered yet again.
Hyatt scored 14 points off the bench with all of them coming in the second half. He also added four rebounds and two assists while committing zero turnovers. Depth is crucial for teams to contend come March and Aundre Hyatt is giving that to Rutgers this year. If Hyatt can simply figure out how to contribute in the first half, the Scarlet Knights could be a real dark horse come the NCAA Tournament.
Rutgers Outworks Penn State Basketball On the Glass
The Scarlet Knights pride themselves on solid defense and owning the glass each and every night. Facing a great shooting team, it was critical that they play their style of basketball. Not only did the Scarlet Knights, lock down the Nittany Lions, but they severely limited their ability to get any second-chance points.
Rutgers outrebounded Penn State 43-26 and gave up just three offensive rebounds. In a must-win game at home, Rutgers stood tall and did all the little things necessary to get a win over a pesky Penn State team. There are still plenty of games left in the season, but if Rutgers can build off of their performance tonight, they are suddenly a true force along with Purdue atop the Big Ten basketball standings.
Big Ten Basketball Standings
- Purdue (8-1 Big Ten Record)
- Rutgers (6-3)
- Michigan (5-3)
- Northwestern (4-3)
- Michigan State (5-4)
- Indiana (4-4)
- Illinois (4-4)
- Wisconsin (4-4)
- Iowa (4-4)
- Penn State (4-5)
- Maryland (3-5)
- Ohio State (3-5)
- Nebraska (3-6)
- Minnesota (1-7)