When Gary Waters was the Rutgers basketball coach, he used to say that when you played defense, you either took away the 3 point shot or the back door cut. You couldn't do both. Waters choice was to always take away the 3, because 3 points is more than 2 points.
Tonight, Eddie Jordan decided to let Princeton shoot 3s.
And the Tigers did. They shot 34 of them. And made 16. Sometimes with hands in their faces, but most times because Rutgers' big men couldn't close out quickly enough. TJ Brey torched Rutgers for 23 points.
So, it seemed like same old story for the 4-7 Scarlet Knights. Losers of 6 Division 1 games in the row.
Here's the problem, though. They played just well enough to give you hope. Myles Mack had 23 and Kadeem Jack (when he touched the ball) was good around the rim with 14 points. Rutgers was tied or held the lead for most of the second half.
But, this team isn't making winning plays. The tiniest bit of adversity and they deviate from the game plan. As soon as Princeton was able to push lead to five, Rutgers panicked. Craig Brown, of all people, played hero ball. A few missed shots, a few missed threes and all of a sudden the Tigers' lead was pushed to ten.
They never were able to get back in it. Still, Jordan is running a system that doesn't fit his players. He continues to call it a process, and says he sees signs of the team getting better. But this team needs a win in the worst way. They need to see the system works. They need confidence.
Get the hero ball out of their system.
Or Jordan has to figure out a way to make it work for them. His system relies on length and speed. This team has little length, and its destroying them.
And there are only 2 games left until conference play.
Eddie Jordan decided to pack the paint. He didn't listen Gary Waters' advice. By the way, Waters was 4-1 against Princeton in his tenure at Rutgers.