Eli Carter played, perhaps, his smartest game as a Scarlet Knight.
He took good shots. He played hard defense. He used a pump fake to get his defender up in the air and got the line multiple times.
And then, he made a mental mistake. With Rutgers up 3 and 13 seconds left on the clock, Carter forced a turnover and dashed toward the hoop. Instead of dribbling some time off the clock, he went up for the lay-up... and blew it. Seton Hall, with a chance to tie, turned upcourt, and Brian Oliver threw a pass. The church-like crowd actually gasped.
Thank God for Mike Poole.
Poole stepped in front of the pass and intercepted it. He was fouled and made one of two. Fuquan Edwin made a 3 with a hand in his face (or some Seton Hall fans will say he was fouled... whatevs). Carter got the inbound, was fouled and again made the first. After missing the second, the Pirates attempted a full court shot and missed.
Losing streak over.
It wasn't the prettiest of games. In fact, it was much like the games against Rutgers' previous opponents... just Seton Hall is not that good. Rutgers came out on fire and took an early lead. The Pirates got back in it. In the second half, Rutgers went up 13 points when Dane Miller scored his 1000th career point... and then proceeded not to make a field goal in the last 9 and a half minutes.
But Rutgers survived. For all Seton Hall's bluster about "Never losing to Rutgers" as Edwin said... they couldn't get it done.
Now, Rutgers' schedule becomes much easier. At DePaul on Saturday. Rutgers needs this game, and every other game down the stretch.
Can they turn this season around?
But with Tim Pernetti giving Mike Rice the dreaded "vote of confidence" last night, the team has no choice but to turn it around.
Empty student sections.
And a team that's 4-8 in the Big East.
There's no time like the present to change things.
And, to be able to look back and say it all started with Eli Carter's brain fart as Rutgers beat Seton Hall.