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Rutgers Hands First Loss to Top-Ranked Purdue Basketball Team

Coming into Monday’s college basketball matchup, Purdue was one of just four teams without a loss in Big Ten play and the only team still undefeated this season. They had their hands full on Monday night when the pesky Rutgers Scarlet Knights came to West Lafayette. Although Rutgers had yet to win a road game coming into the Purdue basketball matchup, to a ranked Ohio State by just one on the road and dominated 10th-ranked Indiana at home by 15.

For years, Rutgers has been known as the “spoiler” in the Big Ten that can beat anyone on any given night. Holding a 10-point lead at halftime, it looked as if Rutgers would once again pull off a huge upset.

When Zach Edey and Purdue basketball heated up down the stretch, it looked as if Rutgers would fall short yet again. Instead, Rutgers beat a top-ranked Purdue basketball for the second straight season, 65-64.

The Rutgers win on the road against top-ranked Purdue will send shockwaves through Big Ten basketball, as the conference is truly wide open.

Purdue basketball
Credit: Jamie Rhodes/USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers Basketball Holds Off Purdue, 65-64

Purdue’s Shooting Falls Flat

Even with the dominant force of Zach Edey inside the paint, Purdue struggled to shoot the ball for most of the game. Entering halftime, Purdue was shooting just 24% from the field. While Rutgers’ defense deserves some of the credit for their shooting woes, Purdue just flat-out missed open shots. Shots won’t always be falling for any team, but it’s problematic that their offense can fall as flat as it did, especially at home.

Down the stretch, Purdue was able to find their three-point shooting and made huge shots down the stretch that flipped the momentum in their favor. However, most of those shots made were defended well, and they struggled to get open looks from deep. That will certainly be something to keep an eye on as the Big Ten basketball season progresses.

Paul Mulcahy Carries Rutgers Basketball

Down the stretch, the Scarlet Knights had few answers for Zach Edey and Purdue. Rutgers basketball struggled to produce much offensively until the Scarlet Knights ran their offense through senior guard Paul Mulcahy. Using dribble handoffs and drives to the paint, Mulcahy hit multiple big shots late, finishing with 16 points, eight rebounds, six assists and four steals.

For as big of a force Mulcahy was as a scorer down the stretch, it was his pass to Cam Spencer that made the difference. Spencer got his defender in the air before burying a three-pointer to put Rutgers ahead with 14 seconds left. When the Rutgers’ offense runs through Mulcahy, they are a different team, and clearly one that is still alive in a hectic Big Ten basketball race.


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