|3:00 PM PT4:00 PM MT5:00 PM CT6:00 PM ET11:00 PM GMT7:00 PM 北京时间4:00 PM MST6:00 PM EST, Nov 30, 2018
Louis Brown Athletic Center, Piscataway, New Jersey Attendance: 8,000
No. 9 Michigan State opens Big Ten schedule at Rutgers
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PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- No. 9 Michigan State and Rutgers open their Big Ten Conference schedule on Friday before an expected sold-out crowd at the Rutgers Athletic Center. The last time Rutgers played before 8,000 fans at home this early in the season was against in-state rival Princeton on Nov. 22, 1997.
The Scarlet Knights (6-1) are playing the second of three games over six days against teams ranked or receiving votes in the Associated Press Top 25, including two on the road. Rutgers also travels to No. 22 Wisconsin on Monday.
Coach Steve Pikiell's squad knocked off Miami in Florida, 57-54, for their fourth straight win on Wednesday. Geo Baker led the Scarlet Knights with 16 points, and had a key late-game block. The Scarlet Knights held Miami to its lowest total since February 13 of last season against No. 1 Virginia.
Rutgers ranks eighth nationally in scoring defense (56.5), 10th in blocked shots (6.2) and 15th in field goal percentage defense (36.9). The Scarlet Knight are among the top five in the Big Ten Conference in nine categories, including first in blocked shots (6.2) and fewest fouls (93).
"I said we've got to put the speed limit on them (Miami), 55 or under," Pikiell said. "And we were able to do that. When you travel on the road you've got to find a way to win, and we were able to grind it out. There were a lot of new pieces (who contributed) too. Every guy that checked in the game really did a good job for us."
Michigan State (5-2), coming off an overtime loss at Louisville on Tuesday, is 7-0 against Rutgers and have won all six meetings since Rutgers joined the Big Ten Conference. After winning the first four meetings against Rutgers by at least 20 points, both games last year were decided by 10 points or fewer.
The contest at Rutgers is part of a stretch of five road games in a two-week span for the Spartans.
"This is going to be, arguably, one of the toughest stretches that I've ever had," coach Tom Izzo, now in his 24th season in East Lansing, told Michigan Live.
The Spartans' juniors are leading the way. Joshua Langford, Cassius Winston and Nick Ward have combined to play in 231 game and start 177 games through seven games this season. As a trio, they are averaging 49.1 points, 12.3 rebounds and 10.3 assists, while connecting on 49.2 percent of their field goals (119-of-242) and 70.7 percent of their free throws (65-of-92). Through seven games, they have accounted for 55.8 percent of the team's scoring (344 of 617 points), 27.5 percent of its rebounds (86 of 313) and 51.1 percent of the team's assists (72 of 141).
Winston fouled out of the Louisville game in regulation, prompting his coach to say he needs to be less aggressive.
"Cassius is too smart a player to get like three reach-in fouls," Izzo told the Lansing State Journal. "I think there is a little more pressure on him, and rightfully so. But he's smart enough and good enough to play with that pressure."
Updated November 29, 2018