PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) — Betnijah Laney had 20 points and 10 rebounds and No. 24 Rutgers recovered from blowing an 18-point second half lead to beat Michigan 81-68 on Wednesday night.
The Scarlet Knights (11-4, 2-2 Big Ten) looked like they were going to cruise to an easy conference win building an 45-27 lead early in the second half before Michigan rallied to tie the game at 51.
Rutgers didn’t fold, scoring the next seven points, started on a three-point play by Kahleah Copper. Laney’s jumper with 8:32 left made it 58-51.
Michigan (10-5, 2-2) couldn’t get closer than four the rest of the way.
Tyler Scaife added 20 points for the Scarlet Knights, who were in the midst of a rare three-game home losing streak, although those games had all come against ranked opponents. They hadn’t lost four straight at home since the 2001-02 season.
With the game tied 6-6, Rutgers scored 17 of the next 19 to blow the game open. Four different Scarlet Knights scored in the run which was capped by Laney’s three-point play that made it 25-8 with 11:58 left.
The Scarlet Knights led 42-25 at the half before Michigan rallied in the second half behind Cyesha Goree, Shannon Smith and Siera Thompson.
The trio scored all but two points during a 24-6 run that tied the game at 51 on Thompson’s 3-pointer with 10:43 left. But Michigan just couldn’t take the lead.
Goree finished with 23 points to lead Michigan while Thompson and Smith each added 16.
Michigan: This was just the second meeting ever between the schools. Rutgers won the other game 65-50 in 2003. Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico though is no stranger to the Scarlet Knights having beaten them the last four times they met when she was at St. John’s.
Rutgers: C. Vivian Stringer is six wins short of becoming the all-time winningest coach in Big Ten history. She has 171 conference victories in her career just behind Rene Portland of Penn State who won 176 games. … Guard Briyona Canty missed her third straight game while recovering from a deep bone bruise in her right knee. … Laney now has 11 double-double’s this season.
Michigan: hosts Ohio State on Sunday.
Rutgers: visits Penn State on Saturday.
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