Rutgers Scarlet Knights

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - FEBRUARY 14:  Carsen Edwards #3 of the Purdue Boilermakers reaches for the ball as Deshawn Freeman #33 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights defends at Mackey Arena on February 14, 2017 in West Lafayette, Indiana.  (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Haas, Swanigan lead No. 16 Purdue past Rutgers

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — While power forward Caleb Swanigan grabs the majority of the attention with his 22 double-doubles during what has become a special sophomore season, No. 16 Purdue is at its best when 7-foot-2 junior center Isaac Haas is almost as — or more — productive.

Haas had 24 points and 11 rebounds Tuesday night, and Swanigan added 12 points and 17 rebounds in the Boilermakers’ 74-55 victory over Rutgers.

Purdue (21-5, 10-3 Big Ten) led 45-39 with just over 12:30 remaining, but from the 11:15 mark until he left the game with 2:20 to play, Haas scored 16 points, and the Boilermakers pulled away for their fourth consecutive victory.

“I just kind of got into a rhythm,” said Haas, who scored a season-high 26 points in a Nov. 22 victory over Utah State in Mexico. “I was really trying to focus on rebounding, doing what I need to do for the team to win and accepting my role. It just kind of came to me tonight.”

Nigel Johnson scored 23 points to lead Rutgers (13-14, 2-12), which had no answer for Purdue’s big men.

“They’ve got two great players,” Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said. “What a luxury bringing (Haas) off the bench. They caused many problems, and they surround those guys with good shooters. I thought we did a decent job on Swanigan. Obviously, Haas was Swanigan tonight. They are a good basketball team that poses lots of problems for people.”

Boilermakers coach Matt Painter got what he was looking for from Haas during the final 20 minutes.

“His footwork was great,” Painter said. “He kept it simple. He got them down deep and used his post moves. He was the difference in the game in the second half. With Isaac, you try to keep him fresh, but when he plays like that, you don’t want to take him out.”

Thanks to 28 from Haas and Swanigan, Purdue outrebounded Rutgers 45-28. Purdue shot 47.5 percent to 35.9 for the Scarlet Knights.

Purdue struggled with turnovers in the first half (8) and led 33-26 through 20 minutes when Johnson was 5 of 6 from the field, including 4 of 4 from 3-point range, for 14 points, but the Scarlet Knights missed a chance to pull closer when the rest of their roster was 5 of 22 from the field.

Haas had eight first-half points, and Dakota Mathias and Carsen Edwards each added six. The Boilermakers outrebounded the Scarlet Knights 23-10 in the first half.

BIG PICTURE

Rutgers: While Johnson and Corey Sanders comprise an impressive backcourt, the Scarlet Knights lack the frontcourt strength to compete with a physical team such as Purdue, which got 36 points and 28 rebounds from Haas and Swanigan.

Purdue: The Boilermakers are 7-1 since a Jan. 12 loss at Iowa and continue to impress with a blend of interior and perimeter offense, plus great man-to-man defense when they need it.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Having won four in a row and seven of eight, Purdue would be positioned to rise in the next poll if it can beat Michigan State on Saturday in Mackey Arena.

MONSTERS IN MACKEY

Since losing on New Year’s Day to Minnesota in overtime in Mackey Arena, Purdue has beaten Wisconsin, Illinois, Penn State, Northwestern and Rutgers on Keady Court by an average margin of 19.8 points. Now 6-1 at home in Big Ten play, the Boilermakers have Michigan State on Saturday and Indiana on Feb. 28 left at home.

UP NEXT

Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights travel to Northwestern on Saturday.

Purdue: The Boilermakers host Michigan State on Saturday.

Rutgers hoping new duo can bring a spark

of the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during their Big Ten conference game at Rutgers Athletic Center on February 8, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey.
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Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.

With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.

“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”

Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.

While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.

Four-star shooting guard Kwe Parker verbally commits to Rutgers

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While good news has been tough to come by for the Rutgers basketball program in recent years, head coach Eddie Jordan and his staff received a much-needed boost in the form of their first 2016 commitment Sunday afternoon.

Four-star shooting guard Kwe Parker announced on Twitter that he’s decided to join the Big Ten program. Once known primarily for his ability to finish well above the rim, the Charlotte native has made strides in other areas of his game including perimeter shooting. Along with current freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college transfer forward Deshawn Freeman, Parker gives the Scarlet Knights another option they can build around for the future.

“After months of contemplating on my college decision, I’ve chose [sic] to continue my basketball career with Coach Jordan at Rutgers University,” Parker tweeted.

Parker plays a position where the Scarlet Knights will lose two players at the end of the 2015-16 season in Bishop Daniels and Omari Grier. Guards who will have eligibility remaining beyond the 2015-16 season include Sanders, Kansas State transfer Nigel Johnson (junior who will sit out this season), Mike Williams (sophomore) and Justin Goode (freshman).

Parker picked Rutgers over Florida, Florida State and Wake Forest.

High-flying 2016 guard Kwe Parker reveals final four schools

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After emerging as one of the top athletes in the Class of 2016, guard Kwe Parker has improved his overall game to the point where he’s considered to be one of the top 100 prospects in the class. Rivals.com has Parker ranked 90th in the Class of 2016, and the four-star prospect is one many high-major programs have reached out to.

Sunday morning Parker revealed his final four schools via Twitter, and also indicated that a decision on where he’ll attend college could be coming soon. The programs in the running for his commitment are Florida, Florida State, Rutgers and Wake Forest.

While Parker’s taken a number of unofficial visits, including two to Wake Forest, the Wesleyan Christian product has taken just one official visit thus far. Parker officially visited Rutgers in mid-June, leaving Florida and Florida State as the schools he’s yet to visit in any capacity. The Scarlet Knights will lose Bishop Daniels and Omari Grier at the end of the 2015-16 season, meaning that they can use a perimeter player of Parker’s caliber as head coach Eddie Jordan attempts to get things going in New Jersey.

Florida State’s an interesting finalist for Parker’s services, as Leonard Hamilton and his staff have enjoyed a very successful run on the recruiting trail in the 2015 and 2016 classes. In 2016 the Seminoles already have three commitments: guards Trent Forrest and C.J. Walker and small forward Jonathan Isaac.

With that being the case, and Boris Bojanovski and Michael Ojo both being seniors this upcoming season, one would assume that Florida State will emphasize big men for the remaining spots in their class.

Florida doesn’t have a single senior on its perimeter heading into the 2015-16 season, with Kasey Hill and Devon Walker being the lone juniors. First-year head coach Michael White was able to hold onto three of the four players who committed to the program when Billy Donovan was in charge, including guard KeVaughn Allen and small forward Keith Stone.

Wake Forest has just one commitment in the 2016 class so far in guard Brandon Childress, and with Codi Miller-McIntyre and Madison Jones both being seniors more perimeter options would not be a bad thing for Danny Manning as he looks to rebuild the program. The Demon Deacons are also in the race for five-star prospects Dennis Smith Jr. and Harry Giles, talents who won’t lack for attention as they move closer to making their respective college decisions.

Report: Rutgers releases Class of 2015 commitment from Letter of Intent

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Rutgers has another scholarship to work with after the school released Class of 2015 commitment Kejuan Johnson from his Letter of Intent. The news of Johnson’s release was first reported by Scout.com‘s Evan Daniels.

The 6-foot-6 Johnson attended Hargrave Military Academy this past season. According to Jerry Carino of Gannett New Jersey, Johnson was having difficulty gaining admission into Rutgers and that could have played a part in the decision for the split.

An undersized forward who can rebound and finish near the hoop, Johnson is originally a native of Atlanta. With Class of 2015 options being limited at this point, Johnson could hear from a couple of programs still looking for depth for the upcoming 2015-16 season.

Johnson is considered a three-star prospect, according to Rivals.

Austin Rivers plays pick-up against LSU freshman Antonio Blakeney, Rutgers freshman Corey Sanders (VIDEO)

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Now that the season is over for Los Angeles Clippers guard Austin Rivers, he has a chance to play pick-up ball in his native Florida against some high-level incoming college freshman. Rivers, a former Duke guard, is a bit of a mixtape legend of his own in high school and he went against two talented future college players in LSU rising freshman Antonio Blakeney and Rutgers rising freshman Corey Sanders.

The pick-up game occurred in Winter Park, Florida and Home Team Hoops was there to film the highlights.