They followed it up by taking Michigan State to overtime in East Lansing.
"We played a well-coached team that is physical as the day is long", Izzo said. MSU has been rolling at home while Rutgers is struggling on the road.
Johns was raised an MSU fan thanks to his father, Brandon Johns Sr., and he said the Spartans were "very much" in the running late. Michigan's many different relationships with Friday as well as the success of the defensive linemen over the past few years are just a few of the things MI has going for them.
That discombobulation continued into the third quarter, as Maryland committed two turnovers in the first two minutes after halftime and missed its lone field goal attempt as the Spartans racked up five quick points to take a 10-point lead. Rutgers is being led by Corey Sanders, who averages 13.8 points per game.
Eleanna Christinaki started in Watson's place and the Terps shot 39 percent from the floor and 29 percent from the 3-point line, below their usual average of 39.4 percent from the perimeter. Bridges didn't have his aggressive, look-to-score attitude when the Spartans needed offense most, shooting just 40% as a team in the half.
The Spartans had to mount a comeback in the clubs' first meeting to eventually pull out a 10-point victory, and the squad squeaked out a four-point overtime win over the Scarlet Knights, Wednesday night at the Breslin Center.
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This would certainly be taking the idea to an extreme, but we're certainly led to believe that what Luke does is extreme. We didn't know the Force let you shoot lightning out of your fingertips until we saw the Emperor do it.
"Yeah, he went on a whole rant", Johns said of Izzo. "Foul trouble hurt him a bit in the first half, which is why he sat on the bench next to me".
For the second time this season, Rutgers will face one of the top college basketball teams in the country.
Junior Eleanna Christinaki added 13 points while sophomore Stephanie Jones tallied 12.
"They're just a tough team", Winston said. I've seen a lot of their commits and I feel like it will be a great class.
Nick Ward led the way for MSU, notching his fifth double-double on the year, scoring 17 points, going 7-11 from the charity stripe and grabbing 10 boards. "Now that they've come on I've been listening to what they have to say". "As he shows me those things, it makes me want to push a few more buttons".
According to oddsmakers at Bovada.lv, Michigan State is the clear favorite, as the Spartans are getting odds of -21 points against Rutgers. Tip-off is set for noon, with television coverage on FOX.
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