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Recap: Penn State , Rutgers
Date: January 07, 2020 7:00 PM EDT
  

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) Rutgers' season of expectations is off to a historic start in conference play.

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Ron Harper Jr. had 22 points to help Rutgers beat No. 20 Penn State 72-61 on Tuesday night as the Scarlet Knights are 3-1 for the first time as member of the Big Ten.

The last time Rutgers started off conference play this well was three conferences ago, as members of the Atlantic-10 in 1994-95. However, fourth-year coach Steve Pikiell, who has preached enjoying the journey and taking things one game at a time all season, isnâ??t going to start talking about the NCAA Tournament just yet.

â??We have 16 games left. We were picked 12th in the league We gotta go to practice. â?¦ There's a lot of season left,â?쳌 Pikiell said. â??I do appreciate the excitement and enthusiasm people have. It doesn't help us win games. We gotta play well, we gotta beat really good teams with great coaches, we gotta go on the road and win. We gotta do a lot of things before we start talking about anything else."

Rutgers took a lead at 34-33 on a second-chance basket by Myles Johnson with 17:53 to go. It was the Scarlet Knights first lead since 4-3, when Harper. hit two foul shots from a flagrant foul on Jamari Wheeler. As Rutgers was trying to inbound, Wheeler elbowed Harper in the chin.

The teams would trade a few of leads, before Rutgers (11-3, 3-1 Big Ten) took the lead for good on Montez Mathisâ?? 3-pointer. He had a layup on the ensuing possession to make it 54-51 with 6:45 to go.

Penn State (12-3, 2-2) led by as many as 10 in the first half, at 24-14. Rutgers would balloon itâ??s lead to 14 in the waning moments of the game.

Looking like a different team in the second half, Harper credited junior captain Geo Baker, who missed his second game with a broken thumb, for rousing the locker room at halftime.

â??Heâ??s our fearless leader,â?쳌 Harper said. â??Just because heâ??s hurt, just because he doesnâ??t mean heâ??s going to take a back seat. He still the relentless leader that he is when heâ??s dressed up and on the court with us.â?쳌

Penn State was led by Myreon Jonesâ?? 21 points, while Mike Watkins had 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting. Jacob Young added 13 points for Rutgers.

â??I'm not going to overreact,â?쳌 Penn State coach Pat Chambers said. â??There's a lot of good teams in this league this year. We'll learn from this. Weâ??ll watch film. Weâ??ll get up tomorrow and we'll get better. That's all we have to do. We have another incredible opponent on Saturday. Wisconsin just beat Ohio State last week, so we got to be ready to go. We got to put this behind us. It's just like Iowa, put it behind you. Rutgers tonight, we got to put it behind us.â?쳌

BIG PICTURE

Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights are off to their best start through 15 games since the undefeated regular season in 1975-76 that culminated in a Final Four, and with its second win over a Top 25 team following a Dec. 14 win over No. 22 Seton Hall, dreams of a postseason look attainable. Rutgers hasnâ??t made the NCAA Tournament since 1990-91, and last made the NIT in 2006.

Penn State: While a five-game win streak was snapped, the Nittany Lions are still in good shape under ninth year coach Pat Chambers. sitting at .500 and in the middle of the pack of a loaded Big Ten Conference.

GEO BAKER UPDATE

Pikiell didnâ??t offer much of an update on Baker, who missed the last two games after breaking his thumb in practice prior to the Nebraska game. However, it doesnâ??t appear that the Scarlet Knights leader will need surgery.

â??Please donâ??t mention that word,â?쳌 Pikiell said. â??Iâ??m just hoping heâ??s back soon. Donâ??t scare me.â?쳌

UP NEXT

Rutgers: At Illinois on Saturday

Penn State: Host Wisconsin on Saturday.

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 CLOSING LAS VEGAS LINE
 Team  ML   SPR   O/U 
 PENNST  -125   -1.5   139.5 
 RUTG  +105   +1.5   
LAS VEGAS LINE MOVEMENTS

 BETTING TRENDS
 Team  ML   SPR   O/U 
 PENNST  78%   75%   49% 
 RUTG  22%   25%   51% 
Betting Trends on Amount Wagered
BT MOVEMENTS

 NCAA BK HEAD TO HEAD
 Mar 6, 2019  Score  ATS Results 
 PENNST « 66 Under: 131 
 RUTG 65 Cover: 0.5 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Jan 26, 2019  Score  ATS Results 
 RUTG « 64 Cover: 10.5 
 PENNST 60 Under: 124 
 Tools:   Recaps

 NCAA BK RECAPS
 Tuesday, Jan 7
 
  •  Penn State at Rutgers
7:00 PM EDT
  •  Rider at QUINNIPIAC
7:00 PM EDT
  •  Buffalo at Ball State
7:00 PM EDT
  •  Virginia at Boston College
7:00 PM EDT
  •  Miami (OH) at Bowling Green
7:00 PM EDT
  •  Northern Illinois at Central Michigan
7:00 PM EDT
  •  South Florida at East Carolina
7:00 PM EDT
  •  Toledo at Kent
7:00 PM EDT
  •  Miami (FL) at Louisville
7:00 PM EDT
  •  Providence at Marquette
7:00 PM EDT
  •  Ohio State at Maryland
7:00 PM EDT
  •  Tennessee at Missouri
7:00 PM EDT
  •  Eastern Michigan at Ohio
7:00 PM EDT
  •  Florida at South Carolina
7:00 PM EDT
  •  Houston at Temple
7:00 PM EDT
  •  Western Michigan at Akron
7:00 PM EDT
  •  Missouri St at Illinois State
8:00 PM EDT
  •  Indiana State at Northern Iowa
8:00 PM EDT
  •  Valparaiso at Southern Illinois
8:00 PM EDT
  •  Villanova at Creighton
9:00 PM EDT
  •  Loyola-Chicago at Drake
9:00 PM EDT
  •  Kentucky at Georgia
9:00 PM EDT
  •  Virginia Tech at Syracuse
9:00 PM EDT
  •  Mississippi at Texas AM
9:00 PM EDT
  •  Baylor at Texas Tech
9:00 PM EDT
  •  Texas Christian at Kansas State
9:01 PM EDT
  •  Iowa at Nebraska
9:12 PM EDT
  •  Fresno State at New Mexico
11:00 PM EDT
  •  Utah State at Air Force
11:00 PM EDT
 
 
 
  
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