Rutgers seeks third straight Top 25 upset at No. 14 Wisconsin
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Rutgers will be looking for its third straight victory over a ranked opponent when the Scarlet Knights travel to Wisconsin to take on the No. 14 Badgers on Saturday.
Rutgers (14-9, 8-5 Big Ten) scored the final 10 points to rally for a 66-64 upset of No. 16 Ohio State on Wednesday after pounding then-No. 13 Michigan State, 84-63, last Saturday.
Wisconsin (19-4, 10-3) avenged one of its conference losses with a 70-62 victory against the Spartans on Tuesday. The Badgers are off to their best start since 20-3 in 2016-17.
Wisconsin is 6-3 against Rutgers since the Scarlet Knights joined the Big Ten in 2014-15. The Badgers are 4-0 in Madison against Rutgers, which is 2-7 on the road this season.
Wisconsin won at Michigan State behind 25 points from Johnny Davis. The Badgers limited the Spartans to eight fast-break points after allowing 21 in the first meeting, an 86-74 loss on Jan. 21.
"Obviously a really good team coached by a terrific coach that I knew we were going to have to play really well to come in here and be able to accomplish this," Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. "Defensively, really good. Did a good job on the glass for the most part, took care of the ball, and obviously made plays when we needed to."
Davis leads the Badgers with 20.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Brad Davison, who this season became Wisconsin's career 3-point leader, averages 14.7 points. Forward Tyler Wahl averages 11.0 points and 5.8 boards, with a team-best 20 blocks.
The Badgers' 7-foot tandem of sophomore Steven Crowl and grad transfer Chris Vogt has been solid but has struggled against elite bigs. Illinois center Kofi Cockburn had 37 points, making 16 of 19 shots, and 12 rebounds in a win over Wisconsin on Feb. 2.
Wisconsin averages 71.1 points and allows 66.1, but the starters have accounted for 85 percent of the scoring. The Badgers lead the nation in fewest turnovers at 8.3 per game and are 11-1 in games decided by six points or fewer.
Rutgers came back to stun Ohio State behind 25 points from Geo Baker, who had eight of the final 10 to give the Scarlet Knights their first back-to-back wins over ranked opponents since 2008.
Rutgers had nine blocks, including five while holding Ohio State scoreless over the final 3:48.
"We had to just really buckle down defensively against a really good team," Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said. "We figured out a way, we willed it. A couple blocked shots down the stretch and we figured out a way to win against a really good opponent in a league that, I mean, the scores in this league are unbelievable. It comes down to one possession for everybody."
Ron Harper Jr. averages 15.4 points, Baker adds 12.3 points and Clifford Omoruyi contributes 11.4 points and a team-best 7.9 boards. Omoruyi was 6-for-6 shooting against Ohio State. Rutgers is 6-0 when Harper scores 20 or more.
Paul Mulcahy is averaging 17.0 points over his past four games. He had a career-high 12 assists in the win over Michigan State and is 19th nationally at 5.4 per game, best in the Big Ten. Caleb McConnell leads the conference in steals (50).
--Field Level Media
Updated February 10, 2022