Rutgers will put its airtight defense to the test against a high-scoring visitor when it faces pesky Iowa on Sunday afternoon in Piscataway, N.J.
Rutgers (11-4, 3-1 Big Ten), on a five-game winning streak, allows 54.9 points per game, which ranks fourth in Division I. Iowa (9-6, 1-3) leads the Big Ten with 81.7 points per game.
The Scarlet Knights followed up Monday’s 65-64 road upset of No. 1 Purdue with a 64-50 win over visiting Maryland on Thursday. Maryland never led after 4-2, with Rutgers responding with a 13-0 run and never looking back.
Three Rutgers players rank in the top four in the Big Ten in steals per game: Cam Spencer (2.6), Caleb McConnell (2.2) and Paul Mulcahy (2.0). This season Mulcahy has grown as an offensive threat, too.
After scoring a team-high 16 points in the Purdue victory, Mulcahy went 6-for-6 for 15 points against Maryland. He averages 8.6 points and a team-best 4.3 assists per game.
“We’re kind of an equal opportunity offense,” Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said. “Paul, it was his day today. Cam’s had days. Obviously, (freshman Derek Simpson) has had days. He took advantage of what he had, he used the size, he got in the lane. Paul does a lot of things for us. You know, he rebounds, he’s vocal, he does a lot of winning things.”
Iowa stormed back from an early 28-7 deficit to stun No. 15 Indiana 91-89 Thursday for its first Big Ten win. Kris Murray dropped 30 points and Iowa’s last nine points of the tense ending came on free throws.
The win snapped a three-game slide for Iowa, which is led by Murray (21.3 points, 9.8 rebounds) and Filip Rebraca (14.4 points, 8.5 rebounds).
“Every game that you watch in our league is like this,” coach Fran McCaffery said. “It’s just the way it is. You gotta figure out a way to win some of them, and … it’s going to come down to a lot of times your veteran guys and the decisions they make and how they help the young guys along.”
Third-leading scorer Patrick McCaffery took a leave of absence earlier this week to address anxiety.
Rutgers defeated Iowa 48-46 in last year’s lone regular-season matchup in New Jersey. Iowa later got its revenge by knocking Rutgers out of the Big Ten tournament with an 84-74 win.
–Field Level Media