Ultimately, the Bearcats were just too deep.
They got Gilvydas Biruta into early foul trouble. They went inside out and hit open shots. They pressed Rutgers nearly every posession. The deeper squad wore the Scarlet Knights out.
More after the jump...Rutgers did what they could. They trapped, they tried to play smart, but it wasn't all there this game. Rutgers couldn't find the open shots they wanted. Every breakdown happened at a key moment in the game. Need a basket? Turn the ball over instead. Need a rebound? Cincy gets a few offensive rebounds on one possession.
At one point, the Bearcats had outshot Rutgers at the foul line 12 to 1. It was about there that Mike Rice got his 2nd technical foul of the season. The free throws put Cincy up four and they never looked back. Rutgers was able to close it to four a few times, but were never able to get over the hump.
Jonathan Mitchell was solid with 20 points, single-handedly keeping keeping RU in the game for long stretches. Dane Miller scored in double figures as well. But when a third player doesn't step up for RU in the scoring column, Rutgers is going to struggle. James Beatty's three wasn't falling. The fouls rendered Biruta useless.
Rutgers had their familiar problems from the free throw line as well. They finished 9-14 from the line, but it felt worse.
The key is talent. Without it, there are going to be a lot of games like this. Rutgers doesn't have a scorer who can stop the run. Biruta may be able to develop into one, and Austin Johnson has shown flashes, but there isn't someone to feed the ball to who can get a lay-up or get fouled. That was the problem today.
Right now, Rutgers just doesn't have the legs. They're going to get worn down.
And it doesn't get easier. #2 Pittsburgh is on their way to the RAC Saturday night.