Once again the Scarlet Knights went toe to toe with a top ten team. They battled the entire game, without their best offense, and even held a 7 point lead in the middle of the second half. But a bunch of mental errors, no-calls, and phantom fouls kept Rutgers out of the win column. Now 11-9 overall and 3-4 in the Big East, the young team is continuing to learn and mature.
It's just a shame the game was taken out of their hands.
More after the jump...With 25 seconds left, and the game tied and 50, Georgetown began to run its offense. The clock ticked down to 8 seconds, and the Hoyas began to move the ball. Then a whistle. Mike Poole was called for a touch foul under the basket. Otto Porter went to the line and sank both free throws. Rutgers brought the ball down and Eli Carter missed a runner in the lane to tie.
It was that kind of afternoon for Rutgers. They were called for a ton of ticky tack fouls--a push-off by Eli Carter late really seemed to get Mike Rice's temper going--while Georgetown was able to manhandle RU's big men down low. At one point, Derrick Randall was mugged 3 times in a row under the basket--no call. On another possession, Greg Lewis gave one of the Hoyas a piggyback ride. No call. If the game was called consistently, Rutgers would have won this one going away.
Instead, the Hoyas went to the free throw line 36 times. The Scarlet Knights only 7.
In Big East play, Rutgers has been called for 54 more fouls than its opponents. According to Brendan Prunty, Coach Rice plans to meet with Big East officials to discuss this. This has been an ongoing concern. Last year on the road at Syracuse, Rutgers was called for a ton of fouls in a close game. At St. John's, Rutgers was on the losing end of the foul calls. And their was the famous end of the Big East game. Even this year's USF game had a questionable "blocking" call on Gilvydas Biruta, which should have been a charge. Two likely wins taken away by referees this season. Until the team starts to consistently win, they are going to have to beat both the refs and the opposing team.
That's not to say this entire game falls on the referees. Rutgers played poorly offensively down the stretch. Up 5 with just under 2 minutes to go, Dane Miller turned the ball over leading to a Hoya fast break. On the final possession, Carter refused to pass the ball, making the team very easy to defend.
The team defense was fantastic. Georgetown shot only 13 percent in the first half, and RU forced plenty of turnovers. The defense was reminiscent of the Pittsburgh game earlier this year. If the refs had let them play, Rutgers would have won this game by double digits. It's a tough pill to swallow for Rutgers fans. Had they won this game, the NCAA talk could have legitimately started. Instead, they're back at square one.
Next up is a must-win against DePaul, Wednesday at the RAC. With the luck, Rice's meeting will work and the Scarlet Knights will get some beneficial whistles.