With about 7 minutes left in the game, the air had been taken out of the ball, the sparse crowd was silent, and most of the fans were checking to see if Fred Hill was still on the sidelines.
And then Dane Miller decided to play defense.
More after the jump...Rutgers wasn't at its best Wednesday night, with James Beatty going scoreless and Dane Miller earning 3 points and 3 fouls. Gil Biruta carried the team, scoring the first 8 points of the game for RU, and finished with 20. Jonathan Mitchell had a quiet double double.
After the brisk opening, RU couldn't get its offense going. Errant passes, bad communication, and missed shots.
Rutgers never felt like it was completely in the game. The defensive sets weren't crisp. The Highlanders were able to backdoor RU to death, and hit just enough three points to stay close. Mike Rice tried everything. He inserted a walk-on, he called time-outs and pointed at the scoreboard.
But with about 7 minutes left, RU woke up and started playing tough D. Dane Miller shut his man down and set the tone. RU went on a late run and was finally able to pull away.
After the game, Rice talked about the team learning to play hard for 40 minutes every game.
Hopefully the team got the message.
Here's Mike Rice's Postgame Press Conference featuring his classic response when he discovered Beatty didn't score a point.