Alright, let’s get some facts straight.
Everyone knows that the University of Michigan’s arch rival is Rutgers. And Rutgers got whooped on its home turf by Michigan during football season.
So the Scarlet Knights had try and get revenge on Jim Harbaugh somehow. After the 78-0 ass whooping, “stealing” recruits from New Jersey, etc. They HAD to do something.
So Rutgers did the most logical thing it has ever thought of...
The basketball team stepped in to try and do something!
Except the Scarlet Knights forgot one thing...they suck at basketball, too.
Did the Wolverine basketball squad shutout Rutgers? No, but they didn’t need to. As long as they didn’t lose, their NCAA Tournament hopes were still alive.
And alive those hopes are.
Michigan (18-10, 8-7 Big 10) took down Rutgers (13-16, 2-14 Big 10) 68-64 on Wednesday night in Piscataway. It was just Michigan’s second road win all season.
The score was 48-46 in favor of the Wolverines with 10:09 left in the second half. Coming out of the media timeout, Derrick Walton hit a 3-pointer to give Michigan a five-point lead. It was just his second made shot of the night up to that point.
But that lead diminished quickly after Rutgers hit two free-throws and forced a Michigan turnover, leading to an easy layup. That made it 51-50 (great Van Halen album), but that lead didn’t last long.
Rutgers hit another open jump shot, putting them up 52-51 with 7:40 remaining heading into another media timeout. It was an 11-3 run from the Scarlet Knights.
And that run only grew for Rutgers, a 14-4 run to be exact, making it 56-52 just one minute later. Things were looking bleak for Michigan, but things turned around after a timeout called by Walton.
An easy bucket by Moritz Wagner, followed by a 3-pointer by DJ Wilson put the Wolverines back on top by one point. Wilson had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Walton then dribbled quickly to the bucket on Michigan’s next possession, made the layup and drew the foul in the process. After hitting the free-throw and a few more buckets, Michigan had a 10-0 run.
After a few back-and-forth battles, free-throws (somehow) settled the game and gave Michigan the W.
One thing Michigan continued to struggle at was free-throws. Missed free-throws was a key reason the Wolverines lost at Minnesota on Sunday. Wednesday, they hit 14-of-23 free-throws, good for just 60.9 percent. Zak Irvin was 3-of-8 from the free-throw line, while Walton and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman missed two free-throws each.
They also turned the ball over more than they normally do, and several of those turnovers led to easy transition points for Rutgers. Corrections with handling the ball and shooting free-throws will definitely need to be made before heading into the Big 10 Tournament.
Notable stat lines
Zak Irvin: 16 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists
Derrick Walton: 13 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists
DJ Wilson: 10 points, 11 rebounds, 2 steals and a block
Michigan will return home for a 4 p.m. tip on Saturday against 14th ranked Purdue.