Michigan, Rutgers try to snap losing skids in season of struggles

One of the Big Ten Conference's two longest active losing streaks will end when Rutgers hosts Michigan on Thursday night in Piscataway, N.J.It's become a lost season for both programs: The Wolverin

Michigan, Rutgers try to snap losing skids in season of struggles

One of the Big Ten Conference’s two longest active losing streaks will end when Rutgers hosts Michigan on Thursday night in Piscataway, N.J.

It’s become a lost season for both programs: The Wolverines (8-20, 3-14 Big Ten) are nearly guaranteed to finish last in the conference and the Scarlet Knights (14-13, 6-10) are down to hoping for an NIT berth.

Michigan, which lost 69-59 at home to Rutgers on Feb. 3, now carries a five-game skid to New Jersey, most recently falling 84-76 to then-No. 3 Purdue on Sunday.

Dug McDaniel put up 19 points and six assists for Michigan and four teammates joined him in double-figure scoring, as the Wolverines shot 48.3 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from 3-point range.

But there was no stopping likely player of the year Zach Edey (35 points on 14-for-18 shooting, 15 rebounds).

“What does not show up on the box score is heart, and our guys played with heart,” Michigan coach Juwan Howard said. “If they had heart here as something that was in this box score, I think we would’ve won, when it came to heart.”

In January, McDaniel was given a six-game suspension for road games only over academic issues. The team’s leader in points (16.7), assists (4.7) and steals (1.0) per game has completed the suspension and will be allowed to play at Rutgers.

The Scarlet Knights have followed a surprise four-game win streak with a three-game slide. Their most recent defeat, 63-46 at home to Maryland on Sunday, represented a return to old offensive woes.

Rutgers tied its season-low point total and went 11:37 of game time without making a field goal before finishing 37 percent from the field and 2-for-11 on 3-point attempts.

“I got to get us to play better and it’s obviously on me,” Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said. “We have a lot of basketball left and I need us to get consistent down the stretch.”

Aundre Hyatt was the only player to reach double figures with 13 points. At 11.0 ppg, he’s been the team’s leading scorer throughout the season. Rutgers has also had transfer Jeremiah Williams eligible for seven games; he has averaged 12.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists.

Williams made his Rutgers debut at Michigan and put up 10 points and six rebounds as his team rallied from a 15-point second-half deficit to win.