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Feb 2, 2024 6:07 pm

Big Ten stragglers Rutgers, Michigan square off

A scoring-challenged team faces an opponent struggling for stops when Rutgers meets Michigan Saturday afternoon in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Rutgers (10-10, 2-7 Big Ten) scores an average of just 66.8 points per game, 329th of the 362 NCAA Division I teams. Meanwhile, Michigan (7-14, 2-8) is allowing 79.3 points per game, 339th in Division I.

At the other end of the floor, the Scarlet Knights can defend (allowing just 66.3 points, 52nd in DI) and Michigan can score (averaging 77.9 points, 86th in the nation).

But their respective deficiencies have led to the Scarlet Knights and Wolverines occupying 13th and last place, respectively, in the Big Ten standings.

Rutgers is on a three-game losing streak — the latest a 61-46 loss to visiting Penn State on Wednesday.

The Scarlet Knights shot just 34 percent from the floor and were a woeful 1-for-17 from 3-point range. Rutgers made just 47.6 percent of its layups and half of its free throws (11-of-22).

“I certainly didn’t do a good job preparing us for the game,” Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said. “We’ve got to jell better as a group. That’s on me, and I’ve got to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Michigan has dropped four straight. On Tuesday, the Wolverines lost 81-62 at archrival Michigan State, getting outscored by 21 points after halftime.

“You have to be dialed in to want to play defense,” Michigan coach Juwan Howard said. “We can’t have blow-bys, we can’t have uncontested shots, and I take full blame for that as a coach. So we’re going to work on it.”

Forward Aundre Hyatt is Rutgers’ leading scorer at 12 points per game, while 6-foot-11 center Clifford Omoruyi averages 10.8 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.1 blocks.

Michigan gets most of its scoring from point guard Dug McDaniel (17.2 points, 5.1 assists per game) and forwards Olivier Nkamhoua (16.0 points, 7.1 rebounds per game) and Terrance Williams II (12.7 ppg).

–Field Level Media

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