Iowa men’s basketball drops close game to Rutgers

The Scarlet Knights took down the Hawkeyes, 48-46, on two last-second free throws.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa forward Keegan Murray fades away during a men’s basketball between Iowa and Maryland at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022. Murray made 14 shots on 21 attempts. The Hawkeyes defeated the Terrapins, 80-75.

Ben Palya, Sports Reporter

Wednesday night’s Iowa-Rutgers men’s basketball game was a defensive struggle for both teams. The two squads scored fewer than 100 points combined as the Scarlet Knights downed the Hawkeyes, 48-46.

For Rutgers, low-scoring games are common. The Scarlet Knights rank 13th in scoring in the 14-team Big Ten Conference. Rutgers only puts up about 68 points per game.

For Iowa, Wednesday’s game was unfamiliar territory. The Hawkeyes rank second in the league in scoring, racking up nearly 84 points per game.

Iowa led Rutgers, 27-24, at halftime. The margin could’ve been larger, but a layup scored by Iowa point guard Joe Toussaint was called off by the contest’s officials.

The Hawkeyes scored just 19 points in the second half, while the Scarlet Knights amassed 24 more points.

In the final 13 minutes of Wednesday’s contest, Iowa scored just eight points. During one 10-minute stretch in the second half, the Hawkeyes didn’t make a single shot from the floor.

Rutgers ranks second in the Big Ten in defense, while Iowa sits at 13th.

Wednesday’s game came down to the final possession. Iowa trailed by two with just two second left on the clock. Senior guard Connor McCaffery threw a full-court inbound pass to sophomore forward Keegan Murray, who caught the ball around the 3-point line. Murray turned, faced Iowa’s basket, and fired a shot at the rim. Murray’s shot never even touched the net.

The air ball ended the game, and Murray finished with 13 points. Murray currently ranks fourth in the nation in scoring.

Big Picture

With the loss, Iowa dropped below .500 in conference play. The Hawkeyes sit at 3-4 in the Big Ten  — eighth in the league. 

Overall, the Hawkeyes are 13-5 on the season. 

Bench Struggles to Step Up

Iowa’s bench players failed to make an impact against Rutgers on Wednesday night. The Hawkeye bench was held scoreless for the first time this season, missing all 11 shots they took.

Sophomore forward Kris Murray saw 11 minutes on the court — the most of any bench player.

Iowa’s starters also struggled offensively, finishing with a season-low 27.9 shooting percentage from the field.

Rutgers Crashes the Glass

Iowa’s struggled to clean the glass again on Wednesday. The Hawkeyes were outrebounded by  the Scarlet Knights, 49-38.

Hawkeye forward Filip Rebraca and Keegan Murray both had good performances on the glass. Rebraca grabbed 10 rebounds and Keegan Murray secured his fifth double-double of the season with 13.

The rest of the Hawkeyes’ roster combined for just 15 rebounds Wednesday.

Up Next

Iowa will return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena for a sold-out show against Penn State. 

Both the Hawkeyes and the Nittany Lions are one game below .500 in the Big Ten and tied for eighth in the conference.

The contest tips off at 3:30 p.m. and will be aired on BTN.

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