PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Myles Johnson scored 13 points with 14 rebounds and five blocked shots and Rutgers staggered Michigan State 67-37 on Thursday night, allowing the fewest points ever since joining the Big Ten and defeating the Spartans for the first time.
The win continued Big Ten breakthroughs for Rutgers (9-6, 5-6), which earned its first win at Indiana’s Assembly Hall in its last outing. The Scarlet Knights had lost to Michigan State 12 times, including all 11 since joining the conference in the 2014-15 season.
The Spartans (8-5, 2-5) were coming off a 20-day pause after a series of positive COVID-19 tests among players and staff, and may have been caught flat-footed as Rutgers opened the game on a 15-0 run.
Michigan State outscored Rutgers 20-11 the rest of the first half, trailing 26-20 at the break. But Rutgers opened the second half on an 11-2 run and MSU didn’t have an answer.
Neither team shot all that well, It took more than 32 minutes before any player (Johnson) reached double figures in scoring. He was joined by Geo Baker with 11 points and five steals and Jacob Young with 10 points.
Ron Harper Jr. finished with nine on 3-of-15 shooting, 0-for-6 from distance.
No Michigan State player scored more than seven — that was Aaron Henry. Michigan State’s 29% shooting (16 of 56) wasn’t its worst this season, that would be the 26% in an 81-56 loss to Minnesota Dec. 28.
Coach Tom Izzo’s squad was still without Mady Sissoko, Gabe Brown and Dave Smith.
THROWBACK (UNIS) THURSDAY
Rutgers was wearing throwback uniforms, red with white piping, letters and numerals, that were an homage to the 1982-83 Rutgers team that was the last to win an NCAA Tournament game.
Rutgers largest margin of victory in a conference game since Feb. 15, 2004 (85-52 vs. Virginia Tech) when it was in the Big East.
Michigan State continues a stretch of three road games in six days, traveling to No. 13 Ohio State on Sunday and No. 7 Iowa on Tuesday. Rutgers is at Northwestern on Sunday.