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Payton Sandfort, Iowa too strong for Rutgers

Jan 8, 2023; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes guard Connor McCaffery (30) dribbles against Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Paul Mulcahy (4) during the first half at Jersey Mike's Arena. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Payton Sandfort led a sharpshooting attack with 22 points and visiting Iowa defeated Rutgers 76-65 on Sunday afternoon in Piscataway, N.J.

Sandfort went 6-for-8 from the field and 4-for-5 from the 3-point arc.

Filip Rebraca had 16 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks and Kris Murray scored 17 with three 3-pointers as Iowa (10-6, 2-3 Big Ten) won its second straight game.

Known for stellar defense, Rutgers (11-5, 3-2) gave up season highs in both points and 3-pointers, as the Hawkeyes shot 12-of-27 from deep.

Cam Spencer scored a team-high 13 points and Caleb McConnell had 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists for the Scarlet Knights, whose five-game winning streak came to an end.

Iowa scored the first eight points of the game and built a 19-9 lead in a little more than seven minutes. By that point, all five starters had scored and four of them had made a 3-pointer.

The Hawkeyes led 30-17 after Murray’s open, fast-break dunk before Rutgers tightened up defensively and scored the next seven points. Cliff Omoruyi (nine points, nine rebounds) blocked a shot and scored a three-point play on the other end to trim it to five.

But at 34-30, Iowa took back control with a half-ending 8-0 run, the final six by Sandfort. Rutgers missed its last six shots of the half and the Hawkeyes went to the locker room up 42-30. Rebraca had 12 points and seven rebounds in the half.

Murray made two more 3-pointers on the way to Iowa establishing its largest lead, 54-36, at 15:41 to play.

That’s when the Hawkeyes slumped into a field goal drought lasting 7:07. Rutgers scored 12 straight points amid a 14-1 run, with Spencer and Aundre Hyatt connecting on treys and Derek Simpson adding a steal-and-score.

Sandfort’s 3-pointer made it 58-50 and ended the dry spell, during which Iowa missed six shots and lost five turnovers.

Sandfort ended up accounting for 11 straight Iowa points, including three 3-pointers, to rebuild Iowa’s advantage.

Rutgers cut the deficit to six in the final minutes but could get no closer.

–Field Level Media