Rutgers loses to Iowa

Rutgers must make history to avoid agony.

With an opportunity to secure a second straight trip to the NCAA tournament and staring at a surprisingly favorable path to the Big Ten tournament finals, fourth-seeded Rutgers fell Friday with an 84-74 loss to fifth-seeded Iowa in the Quarterfinals flat. So instead, the Scarlet Knights head to Selection Sunday in hopes of becoming the first team ever with a NET ranking below 73 (St. John’s in 2019) to earn a berth at large.

Playing immediately after losing top-seeded Indiana to open the top half of the Big Ten bracket, Rutgers jumped out to a quick 10-point lead but was wiped out by a six-minute no-field-goal drought midway through the first half made . Iowa fell into a zone defense that forced Rutgers to take outside shots and miss nine straight, and capitalized on a 15-1 run to forge a 28-20 lead, leading nine at the half and opening to 18 became.

But the most embarrassing part of the loss was that strength and conditioning coach David Van Dyke received two separate technical fouls and was thrown out for barking at the officials at the end of the bench. Rutgers was called out for 24 fouls on Iowa’s 14 and went a better 25-10 on the free throw line in a strictly whistle game between two physical identity teams.

The Hawkeyes weren’t quite as strong as they were when they rained 19 3-pointers in a 112-point breakout against the hitless Northwest on Thursday, but they weren’t like the team that didn’t basket Jan. 19 in Piscataway could , either. Still reeling from that 48-46 loss marked by a season low and a controversial deciding whistle, Iowa openly “wanted” the rematch — and jumped at the opportunity.

Tony Perkins #11 of the Iowa Hawkeyes drives to the basket while being guarded by Caleb McConnell #22 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
Tony Perkins #11 of the Iowa Hawkeyes drives to the basket while being guarded by Caleb McConnell #22 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
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A win for Rutgers would have meant it reached the semifinals in a conference tournament for the first time since it played in the 1998 Big East Spoiler… a semifinal game against Indiana, which it has beaten seven of their last eight encounters… and the end of a discussion about it , as his soft non-conference schedule undermines a 12-8 Big Ten record and his best regular season finish in eight seasons since joining the loaded conference.

Rutgers NET ranking is 77 despite an impressive 6-5 record against Quad 1 opponents.

Geo Baker scored 23 and Cliff Omoruyi added 17, but it wasn’t enough as the Rutgers bench contributed zero points and First Team All-Big Ten forward Ron Harper shot up on 5-of-16 13 was held. Iowa’s Keegan Murray had 26 points and eight rebounds. Rutgers loses to Iowa


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