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Poor-shooting Rutgers no match for Michigan State

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Rutgers had no answers for Aaron Henry, who did it all for No. 23 Michigan State.

For much of the night against No. 15 Rutgers, he had to while teammates turned the ball over and missed shots.

Henry had 20 points, eight rebounds, four blocks and two steals to help the Spartans pull away and beat the Scarlet Knights 68-45 on Tuesday night.

“He did the job for us, which the best players are supposed to do,” coach Tom Izzo said. “What I liked about him is, he was efficient. Aaron saved us a little bit.”

Michigan State (8-3, 2-3 Big Ten) had a 17-point scoring edge in the second half with a late offensive surge to win a second straight game after opening conference play with three straight losses.

The Scarlet Knights (7-3, 3-3) made just 31 percent of their shots. With no one guarding them, they were barely better.

Rutgers started 0 of 7 at the foul line and finished making just 3 of 12 free throws, a troubling trend for the potentially promising team.

“It doesn’t help that we can’t make a free throw to break some of these runs,” coach Steve Pikiell said.

Ron Harper Jr. had 13 points and Jacob Young scored 11 for Rutgers.

“Coach Izzo had them ready,” Pikiell said. “I didn’t have our guys ready. We have to play better on the road in a league like this.”

Henry played well enough to allow Michigan State to overcome a season-high 18 turnovers, contributing four giveaways himself. He made desperately needed shots, connecting on 8 of 13 from the field while the rest of the team struggled to score until late in the game.

Reserve Rocket Watts and Joshua Langford each scored 11 points for the Spartans, who led by just six points at halftime.

Henry was the only Michigan State player with more than three points in the first half, but making stops at the other end the entire game made the difference.

“This gives us a barometer of where we can be defensively,” Izzo said. “We can show our guys, this is what happens when you guard. They shot 30% and they got some easy shots off our turnovers so that makes our half-court defense even more impressive.”

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