On Sunday afternoon, Rutgers took on a middling to weak Houston team, and got run out of the gym.
It's always tough to write about these types of games, and this one is no different. It was a bizarre game that had Rutgers fall behind by 8 or 9 at halftime, only to make a 10-0 run early in the second half behind Myles Mack. He scored 15 points in 21 minutes, but after taking the lead, Eddie Jordan sat him.
Houston turned it on after that and basically sent Rutgers ahead to SMU. The Cougars ended up winning by 22.
Curiously, Jordan sat Mack the rest of the second half after the run. In the postgame press conference (and radio interview), Jordan said Mack was "tired."
And, thusly, the Scarlet Knights move on to tonight's game.
--Play Better: Duh, right? But it's true. This Rutgers team can hang with most teams when they're on. The problem is, too often they're not on. They're 0-4 on the road this season and have yet to sustain a full game of good play during that stretch. SMU is not a team to take lightly, and if Rutgers isn't on, they won't have a shot.
--Sure Up the Defense and Rebounding: Houston was able to shred the Scarlet Knights defense, running, dunking and hitting 3 pointers at will. SMU is much better than Houston and the deficit could be even worse in this one if Rutgers can't get stops.
--Push the Tempo: In a curious quirk of schedule (because of a re-scheduled game), the Mustangs are playing their 3rd game in 4 nights. They could have some tired legs out there. Rutgers needs to play fast and smart, and wear down SMU. It's the only way they'll have a shot.
Most said Rutgers had to go 1-1 on this road trip to make the conference season anywhere near exciting. So, I guess that makes tonight a must win.