Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers.
Down ten late in the second half, Rutgers staged a huge rally to tie the game with 15 second left on. But with 3 seconds left, Justin Brownlee took it right back at Lumpkins--warded off--and layed it in. But the game wasn't truly lost then.
St. John's came out and pressed RU and the Scarlet Knights seemed flummoxed by it. They battled, especially in the first half, but they could never get over the hump. In fact, the game was tied 31-31 at half, despite Rutgers 17 turnovers in the first half.
More after the jump...Jonathan Mitchell showed up for Rutgers tonight scoring every way you can. He shot threes, mid-ranger jumpers, and even dunked it. But for 35 minutes, it wasn't enough. The rest of the team couldn't get anything going. St. John's defense flustered them. They couldn't get Gylvidas Biruta open, and Austin Johnson didn't even get a chance to use his hook shot.
Lumpkins was the other star of the game, knocking down several threes late in the game keeping Rutgers in it. He couldn't miss late, and when Mike Coburn found him wide open at the 3 pt line. He drained it to tie.
Dane Miller also showed up, with two highlight dunks, but foul trouble hampered him. Toward the end of the game, the ball went through his legs a few times for turnovers. To be honest, he looked completely worn out.
James Beatty was super-cold from the outside, and missed several opportunities to put Rutgers ahead early in the second half. He was also the culprit of many of the turnovers. The press was a bit more aggressive than RU has seen before, and it seemed to fluster him.
Mike Rice just couldn't find a combination of players that could work with any consistency. It was ugly basketball at it's finest. But still RU battled. They didn't lay down, they didn't let St. John's run away with it. St. John's ten seniors show their depth and experience here, and Rutgers couldn't match that level of depth. Ultimately, just like the Cincinnati game, RU just wore down.
Eventually, Rutgers is going to have to get one of these games. The Pittsburgh loss had to hurt, and it showed early in this game, as RU went down 9-0. They rallied, but couldn't get over the hump and get the lead. Last year, this would have been a 20 point loss.
It was an ugly, but great game to watch. RU battled hard, as they have all season, but when your opponent scores 21 points off 23 turnovers, there's not much a team can do.
Notre Dame is next. Noon on Super Bowl Sunday.