That's the number of lay-ups Mike Rice said his team missed while he was interviewed after the game. That's truly the story of the contest. Missed shots. Rutgers' shooting percentage was awful, and beyond Mike Poole, no one really stepped up. Gilvydas Biruta missed some putbacks. Myles Mack didn't make a field goal.
But still RU was in the game late, and when the ever present (in this rivalry) bizarre play came around, Rutgers really had an opportunity to take advantage.
More after the jump....Herb Pope got called for a foul, then decided to head butt Eli Carter (after a nice little push by Carter). Carter, however, is a freshman and couldn't stop himself and gave Pope another little push. Pope went flying. The play resulted in 3 technical fouls on Seton Hall, but no ejection for Pope. Rutgers took advantage making 3 of 4 free throws, and then Dane Miller rattled in a 3. Rutgers was up 2 points with under 4 minutes to go.
A team of seniors would have taken full advantage, shut the opposition down and finish the game.
Rutgers doesn't have any seniors.
Pope got open at the 3 point line and buried a shot of his own, putting the Hall back up 1. Rutgers panicked, as freshman do in late game situations, and were never able to get back into the game. Turnovers and forced 3s took the Scarlet Knights right out of the game, while the Pirates stole one at the RAC.
Jordan Theodore was a beat tonight, scoring 24 points, basically putting Seton Hall on his shoulders and refusing to let them lose. Rutgers--mostly Jerome Seagears--did a fine job of defending the pick and roll, but Theodore was patient. If one move didn't work, he'd try another. Eventually he'd get to the bucket.
Meanwhile, Derrick Randall hadn't been rebounding well, so he only played 3 minutes. Kadeem Jack got 15 minutes, and they were productive. Austin Johnson got the start and Greg Lewis even found some time. Hopefully, all these players continue to improve.
However, it is a loss to Seton Hall. That's never good for the fanbase. The ever-patient Rivals message board is as close to meltdown mode as it's been since the Fred Hill era. They clearly believe the wheels have come off. And it's possible they will. Rutgers' schedule does not get any easier, but this is a young team that has proven they could beat anyone.
And they get another shot at the Hall.
So, Rutgers sits at 12-13 and 4-8 in the Big East. With a week off. Time to sit back, take a deep breath, and re-center the season.