Paul Mulcahy scored all 17 of his points in the second half and host Rutgers rallied to defeat Michigan State 61-55 on Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Mulcahy made back-to-back driving layups to give the Scarlet Knights (16-7, 8-4 Big Ten) a seven-point cushion with 2:12 to play. His 8-of-12 free-throw shooting, including one made foul shot with 28.6 seconds left, helped Rutgers ice the game.
Clifford Omoruyi posted 15 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks. Caleb McConnell had nine points -- all after halftime -- plus four steals.
The Scarlet Knights, who scored just 19 points in the first half, moved into sole possession of second place in the Big Ten. They also won for the first time in three appearances in the Big Ten Super Saturday game.
Their league-best defense held Michigan State to 34.5 percent shooting -- 19.0 percent from 3-point range -- and caused 14 turnovers.
Tyson Walker led Michigan State (14-9, 6-6) with 12 points. Joey Hauser added 10 as the Spartans lost for the fifth time in seven games.
Rutgers led by eight when Walker knocked down a 3-pointer with 47 seconds remaining, making the home fans sweat before the Scarlet Knights won the game at the foul line.
Rutgers made just three of its first 18 shots and Michigan State started 3-for-14. The lone bright spot for either team's offense was Mawot Mag, who hit a 3-pointer en route to starting 3-for-4 from the floor for seven points.
Mag was fouled with 6:25 left in the first half, hit the court hard and left the game. He did not return.
Walker scored on consecutive possessions, a high-arching mid-range shot and a triple, to give the Spartans a 17-15 lead with 4:29 left.
The lead was never larger than three until the Spartans' 8-2 run to end the half. Jaden Akins beat the buzzer on a fast-break layup to hand Michigan State a 25-19 halftime lead.
The Spartans led by as many as eight before Rutgers forged a 10-2 run, tying the game at 33 with 13:31 left on Mulcahy's corner 3-pointer. Rutgers forced the Spartans to miss nine straight shots from the floor before Akins snapped the tie with his own 3.
The Scarlet Knights cut the deficit to one point twice more before breaking through. McConnell sank a 3-pointer for a 42-40 Rutgers lead with 6:44 left. The Spartans drew within 46-44 with 3:45 left when Mady Sissoko dunked.
--Field Level Media