Rutgers hasn’t performed with an entire, wholesome lineup but this yr, so the 14th-ranked Scarlet Knights knew what to do when main scorer Ron Harper Jr. was compelled to the bench.
“We simply had the next-man-up mentality,” senior captain Geo Baker mentioned.
This time, that man was Montez Mathis.
Mathis scored a career-high 25 factors, together with 16 within the second half, and Rutgers beat Purdue 81-76 on Tuesday evening.
Harper tweaked his ankle in apply and was scratched an hour earlier than tipoff. The Honorable Point out All-Huge Ten participant from a yr in the past has been among the many high gamers within the convention and small forwards within the nation, taking pictures 56.4%, together with 50% from past the arc, for 23.4 factors per recreation together with 7.1 rebounds and a couple of.1 assists.
Harper’s harm is the newest in a season of them for Rutgers (7-1, 3-1 Huge Ten). Jacob Younger returned after a tough fall that sidelined him within the second half of the final recreation vs. No. 23 Ohio State, and Mawot Magazine (ankle) had missed the final three video games. Cliff Omoruyi was sidelined for the second straight recreation with a sprained proper knee.
Baker — an All-Huge Ten guard — missed three video games after spraining his ankle early within the season-opener. Baker had 19 factors, six rebounds and 4 assists, whereas Younger had 13 factors and 4 assists.
Purdue (7-4, 2-2 Huge Ten) punished Rutgers within the paint, led by Trevion Williams’ 21 factors and 12 rebounds. The Boilermakers had 42 factors within the paint to the Scarlet Knights’ 28. Purdue held the rebounding edge 33-31.
“Whenever you play a crew like this, , Trevion Williams is a very good passer. So if you happen to double down, you get to sort of choose your poison with him just a little bit,” Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell mentioned. “And (Zach) Ede is 7-foot-4, I imply, large. You understand, Myles (Johnson) has to wrestle with them. … Going in opposition to two of the higher publish guys within the league.”
Isaiah Thompson had 17 factors for Purdue, and his layup with 15:19 left gave the Boilermakers their first lead, 46-44, since halfway by the primary half. Pikiell promptly known as a timeout to interrupt up Purdue’s 23-6 run.
Rutgers trailed by 5 earlier than rallying to tie it at 53 on Paul Mulcahy’s 3-pointer and Baker’s transition layup.
The groups exchanged leads earlier than Mulcahy hit a 3-pointer to place Rutgers up 61-59 on the 7:52 mark. The Scarlet Knights led the remainder of the way in which.
“Those that Mulcahy hits within the second half, no one’s there,” Purdue coach Matt Painter. “You’re simply large open. Nobody’s rotating to him.”
After Purdue jumped to an 11-6 lead, Rutgers rallied to guide by as many as 15 earlier than taking a 40-34 lead into halftime.
Sasha Stefanovic added 14 factors for Purdue.
Rutgers fell just a few spots to No. 14 after a loss at No. 25 Ohio State, however can transfer again up if it beats No. 10 Iowa on Sunday.
Rutgers had been struggling on the charity stripe, taking pictures 60%. That improved in opposition to Purdue, as Rutgers went 14 of 17 from the road.
Purdue: It’s the start of a troublesome highway stretch within the Huge Ten for the Boilermakers. They’ve three video games in opposition to High 25 opponents — additionally at No. 15 Illinois and at No. 17 Michigan State — with a house recreation vs. Nebraska at dwelling in between.
Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights are within the midst of a tough stretch, with the Boilermakers the one unranked crew through the present six-game stretch. Rutgers hosts No. 10 Iowa earlier than touring to No. 17 Michigan State and internet hosting No. 25 Ohio State.
Purdue: At No. 15 Illinois on Saturday.
Rutgers: Host No. 10 Iowa on Saturday.