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Oregon picks up commitment from Rutgers transfer Eugene Omoruyi

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Oregon picked up one of the best transfers on the market on Monday night as Rutgers forward Eugene Omoruyi pledged to the Ducks.

One of the Big Ten’s breakout players last season, the 6-foot-7 Omoruyi put up 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game last season for the Scarlet Knights as the junior shot 44 percent from the field and 31 percent from three-point range.

Hit hard with NBA draft early entries, Oregon has rebounded nicely with transfers over the past week. Omoruyi will likely need to sit out this season to play his final season, but he’s potentially a starter who averages double figures once he enters the lineup. The Ducks also took a commitment from perimeter specialist Anthony Mathis last week as the Oregon native will play with former high school teammate Payton Pritchard for his final season.

Oregon head coach Dana Altman has done a great job of hitting the transfer market to boost the talent of his roster each spring as the Ducks have stayed NCAA tournament contenders despite yearly losses. The Ducks will likely pursue some more transfer options as they still have more scholarships to fill.

Harper scores 27, Rutgers rolls Iowa 86-72

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — No. 22 Iowa has likely done enough to lock up an NCAA Tournament spot.

But it’s fair to start wondering if the Hawkeyes will be able to do anything once they get there.

Freshman Ron Harper Jr. scored a season-high 27 points and Rutgers rolled past Iowa 86-72 on Saturday in the Hawkeyes’ home finale.

Issa Thiam had 13 points for the Scarlet Knights (14-14, 7-11), who won their first road game over a ranked opponent as a Big Ten team. It was also the Scarlet Knights’ first victory over a Top 25 team away from home since defeating then-No. 13 Pittsburgh 77-64 in 2008.

“We got it rolling a little bit,” Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said. “It’s hard to win on the road, and it’s the best league in the country.”

Iowa played without coach Fran McCaffery, who was suspended by the school for two games for yelling at an official in a hallway heading to the locker room following Tuesday’s loss at Ohio State.

It was Iowa’s third loss in four games — and the Hawkeyes (21-8, 10-8) needed some late heroics to top Indiana in their only win in that stretch.

The scariest thing for the Hawkeyes was how lopsided it was. Iowa shot just 35.7 percent from the floor and turned it over 13 times.

“It didn’t seem like we able to get into any sort of offensive rhythm,” acting Iowa coach Andrew Francis said. “We haven’t shot the ball collectively as well as we know we’re capable of.”

Rutgers jumped all over the Hawkeyes in the first half, hitting seven 3s — including 3 straight from Thiam from the same corner — to jump ahead 39-30. The Scarlet Knights then went on an 8-2 run straight out of the locker room to make it 47-32.

Iowa, the national leader in free throws made entering play, got into the bonus with 13:21 left. But the Scarlet Knights kept getting open looks from beyond the arc from a generous Iowa defense, with Harper and Geo Baker hitting back-to-back 3s to help push the lead to 65-45.

“He’s getting better and better,” Pikiell said of Harper. “I think he’s going to be a really good player, and we got a little dose of that.””

Senior Nicholas Baer scored a season-high 17 points and Tyler Cook had 16 for Iowa (21-8, 10-8), which closed to 72-60 before allowing back-to-back dunks.

The Hawkeyes shot just 8 of 29 on 3s.

“We’re going through a small rough patch, I guess. Even in our wins we haven’t been playing our greatest ball,” Cook said. “But the fun part about it is finding a way to get better.”

BIG PICTURE

Iowa: It’s impossible to say whether McCaffery’s absence hurt the Hawkeyes. But he’s the coach for a reason. Iowa came out lethargic in front of a sellout crowd on Senior Day, and failed to make the halftime adjustments needed to at least make a game of it. “We don’t want to lose our confidence in who we are,” Francis said. “I think this team is still in a good place…we’re just missing some shots.”

Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights, who lost at Fordham and needed overtime to beat Columbia in December, are one of the most improved teams in America — and they got revenge for losing to Iowa on a buzzer beater two weeks ago. They might win a game or two at the Big Ten tournament.

THE NUMBERS

Bohannon had 15 points, but he was just 4 of 12 shooting. Bohannon is streaky, and that could be an issue in the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments. …Rutgers was 11 of 23 on 3, with Harper leading the way at a 4 of 7 from deep. …Sophomore big man Luka Garza has had a strong season for Iowa, but he wasn’t at his best against the Scarlet Knights. The Hawkeyes were minus-24 with Garza on the floor. Garza had 10 points but just two rebounds.

HE SAID IT

“Of course we want coach (McCaffery) out there with us. He’s the main voice that we hear every day,” Cook said. But “even when he’s with us he’s not out there playing ball. So, we’ve got to go out there and execute.”

Winston scores 28, No. 10 Michigan State beats Rutgers 71-60

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EAST LANSING, Mich. — Xavier Tillman got off to a shaky start, filling in for Nick Ward in the starting lineup for No. 10 Michigan State.

Tillman finished strong, scoring a career-high 19 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, and Cassius Winston had 28 points help the short-handed Spartans come back to beat Rutgers 71-60 Wednesday night.

“It’s going to bring our team closer together,” coach Tom Izzo said. “Whether we’ll have enough, I don’t know. We’ll find out, but I’m not counting us out.”

Michigan State missed Ward and Joshua Langford on offense against defensive-minded Rutgers. Ward had hand surgery Sunday and Langford had season-ending foot surgery earlier this month, taking more than 30 points out of Izzo’s lineup.

Tillman, in particular, made the most of his opportunity.

“It builds tremendous confidence,” he said. “But Sunday, we have to get off to a much better start. This was a big win for us.”

The Spartans (22-5, 13-3 Big Ten) moved a half-game ahead of No. 7 Michigan and No. 15 Purdue in the Big Ten standings. They will play against the Wolverines on the road Sunday.

Michigan State started 0 of 6 and trailed 32-35 at halftime after making just 30 percent of its shots. The Scarlet Knights led by 11 points early in the second half before Tillman had six straight points and Michigan State’s best chance to score was off offensive rebounds.

“I thought we were getting in a little bit of a groove,” Rutgers guard Geo Baker said after scoring 17 points. “It felt good, but we were playing on the road and that team can explode at any time.”

Matt McQuaid made a game-tying 3-pointer with 12:39 left after Michigan State’s fourth offensive rebound of the possession. Winston made a go-ahead layup the next time the Spartans had the ball and they ended up coasting to a double-digit victory.

“The game was won because we rebounded,” said Izzo, referring to his team’s 45-31 edge on the boards.

McQuaid, the only player on the team who shot well early in the game, scored 11 points and Kenny Goins had five points and 12 rebounds. Kyle Ahrens, who has been in and out of the lineup with injuries, limped off the court after aggravating his back injury in the second half.

Ron Harper had 11 points for the Scarlet Knights (12-14, 5-11) as they lost for the fifth time in six games.

“We just have to stay positive,” Baker said. “We’re a really young team and we have to learn how to win.”

BIG PICTURE

Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights compete hard in the Big Ten, but they don’t have enough scorers to win consistently in the highly competitive conference. They connected on fewer than 40 percent of their shots against the Spartans.

“Our numbers offensively are up over last year,” said coach Steve Pikiell, adding he’s counting on four freshmen to play regularly.

Michigan State: Tillman didn’t score until 5:39 left in the first half, but the sophomore forward scored the last basket of the first half and had six straight points early in the second half to cut the Spartans’ deficit to five.

“Xavier had some problems in the first half,” Izzo said. “I thought he did a helluva job in the second half.”

PLAYMAKER

Winston complemented his scoring by finishing with eight assists.

“Cassius is the best point guard in the league and he played like it,” Pikiell said.

UP NEXT

Rutgers: Host Minnesota on Sunday night.

Michigan State: Plays at Michigan on Sunday.

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

WATCH: No. 21 Iowa stuns Rutgers on wild buzzer-beater

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Joe Wieskamp finished with just nine points, but he somehow managed to hit the biggest shot of the game, banking in a three from the deep corner with 0.2 seconds left on the clock as No. 21 Iowa beat Rutgers, 71-69, in Piscataway.

The shot that Rutgers hit to take the lead on the Hawkeyes was equally as impressive, as Geo Baker found a way to roll home a three with just 3.3 seconds left on the clock, which put the Scarlet Knights up 69-68.

Jordan Bohannon led the way with 18 points and five assists for the Hawkeyes, who improved to 20-5 on the season and 9-5 in the Big Ten. They are still two games out of first.

Brazdeikis scores 23 to lead No. 17 Michigan over Rutgers

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PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Coming off their worst game of the season, No. 7 Michigan did almost everything right to give coach John Beilein a school record-setting win on his 66th birthday.

Freshman Ignas Brazdeikis scored 23 points, Zavier Simpson came close to the triple-double and the Wolverines (21-2, 10-2 Big Ten) hit nine of their first 11 shots in opening a big lead and beating Rutgers 77-65 on Tuesday night.

“We were really good today,” Beilein said. “I really loved just about everything about our game except that 14-second span where we lost our minds and they scored eight points.”

The eight-point run allowed Rutgers (11-11, 4-8) to cut into an early 17-point lead but it never got closer than seven points the rest of the way.

Beilein referred to the win on his birthday as boring, and added he would cherish it for 10 minutes before looking at statistics for this weekend’s game against No. 19 Wisconsin.

“It’s a sickness that I can’t get away from, but that’s what it is,” he said. “I am trying to realize that I am not going to coach forever and these are great wins, these road wins. For us to have four road wins already in this conference is a great accomplishment.”

There were a lot of contributors.

Zavier Simpson added 14 points, seven assists and seven rebounds as the Wolverines bounced back from a dreadful performance in a 74-59 loss to Iowa. Jordan Poole added 15 points and Charles Matthews had 11 in giving Beilein his 121st win in the conference for Michigan, a school record. He share the old record with Johnny Orr.

Eugene Omoruyi, who spent a year in high school with Brazdekis in Ontario, Canada, had 21 to lead Rutgers. Montez Mathis added 12 points.

“When you are playing an elite team you can’t have a bad start, you can’t have a bad middle and you can’t have a bad ending,” Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said. “You have to play well all the time. You can’t have any bad against an elite team and we happened to not start off the right way.”

Brazdeikis scored Michigan’s first eight points and Matthews chipped in with nine in helping Michigan open its 27-10 lead.

Brazdeikis finished 8 of 14 from the field, including 5 of 9 from 3-point range. His point total was one off his career-high of 24 against North Carolina.

For much of the night he was paired head to head with Omoruyi, who was his roommate in his first year at prep school.

“He literally taught me a lot that I know today about mental toughness,” Brazdeikis said. “It was a lot of fun going against him. It doesn’t matter who I am playing against. The other team is the enemy. It’s a blank face every time I play an opponent, whoever is guarding me, it doesn’t matter. It was a lot of fun playing against him.”

GOOD DEFENSE: Michigan held Rutgers guard Gio Baker to eight points on 1 of 9 shooting. He was averaging 13.2 points. Beilein said he mentioned Baker’s name about 100 times in the two practices leading up to the game.

BIG PICTURE

Michigan: The Wolverines did not get caught looking past Rutgers to Wisconsin this weekend. The Badgers beat the Wolverines 64-54 on Jan. 19 to hand them their first loss after a 17-0 start.

Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights are relentless. Despite being down early, they kept coming back and forced Beilein to play his starters until the final minute. Their four conference wins are two less than Pikiell had combined in his first two seasons here.

UP NEXT

Michigan: Return home to face No. 19 Wisconsin on Saturday afternoon.

Rutgers: At Illinois on Saturday afternoon in their only meeting this season.

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Wednesday’s Things to Know: Markus Howard drops 53; Houston’s unbeaten season ends; Auburn, Ohio St lose on road

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Chaos dictated the early portion of college basketball’s schedule on Wednesday night. With five ranked teams playing on the road in conference games, strange things were bound to happen. We ended up with a 50-point outing, two road upsets to unranked teams and an undefeated season ending all within the first few hours of the night.

Here are the things to know about Wednesday night in college hoops.

Markus Howard drops 53, Sam Hauser’s heroic regulation buzzer-beater lift No. 21 Marquette over Creighton

Things got dramatic in the Big East as Marquette outlasted Creighton for a 106-104 overtime win.

At the end of regulation, with Marquette down by three, Creighton turned the ball over on an inbounds pass with 0.8 seconds left. Sam Hauser and the Golden Eagles took advantage by nailing the controversial game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer to send it to overtime.

Junior guard Markus Howard took over from there as he finished with 53 points — with 14 points coming in overtime. It marked Howard’s third time with 45 or more points in his career — the first college player to do that since Jodie Meeks. For the first time in 20 years, college hoops also has a player with two career 50-point games. And Howard’s only a 19-year-old junior.

No. 17 Houston’s unbeaten season ends in controversial fashion at Temple

College hoops is only down to Michigan and Virginia among college basketball’s undefeated teams after Temple knocked off No. 17 Houston in AAC play on Wednesday night.

The game ended on a controversial charge call on a potential game-tying lay-up by the Cougars’ Corey Davis Jr. as Houston lost its undefeated season in dramatic fashion. Over the past two seasons, Houston has some of the most dramatic losses in college basketball as they’ll look to bounce back and stay atop a crowded field in the American.

Temple also joins the AAC conference race with a more intriguing case as they’ve now taken down the league’s best team early in conference play. In Fran Dunphy’s final season, the Owls now have a much better postseason case after a win like this.

Ole Miss enhances its profile with big win SEC win over No. 11 AuburnĀ 

Things got more interesting in the SEC on Wednesday night as Ole Miss held off No. 11 Auburn, 82-67, for a quality upset win. Finding themselves in bubble range after a surprising start to the season, the Rebels might have just given themselves the kind of signature win they were looking for by knocking off last season’s co-SEC champion.

Terence Davis came through with a monster game of 27 points and 12 rebounds as he put Ole Miss on his back during stretches of this game. Previously with only wins over Baylor and on the road at Vanderbilt to open SEC play, now the Rebels have the type of win they can build around.

Auburn’s loss means they’ll need to do more to keep up with Tennessee in the SEC. And they’re 0-2 in true road games on the season.

Also, who saw Ole Miss and South Carolina as being 2-0 in the SEC while teams like the Tigers and Kentucky would be 1-1? The SEC has already been wild to start this conference season.

Rutgers knocks off No. 16 Ohio State for biggest win of Steve Pikiell’s career

And finally in the Big Ten, Rutgers claimed its most important win of the Steve-Pikiell era with a 64-61 home Big Ten win over Ohio State.

The Scarlet Knights really don’t have much of a shot at the NCAA tournament with an 8-6 record at this point, but it shows the progress the program has made. Big Ten basketball is also as brutal as ever as the league, top-to-bottom, is incredibly tough. The young backcourt of Montez Mathis (16 points) and Geo Baker (15 points) came through while Ron Harper Jr. chipped in 12 points.

Ohio State could fall out of the top 25 with its latest loss as they fell behind in the first half of a back-and-forth game. With a late lead, the Buckeyes dropped control, and eventually the game, as a young team looked inconsistent down the stretch. Big man Kaleb Wesson scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half, but it wasn’t enough for the Buckeyes.