Anyone who thought this hyped Scarlet Knights team would come out and blow the doors off everyone they play this season, was clearly out of their mind. On a team with no seniors and 6 (playing) freshman, this whole year is going to be a work in progress. Last night's six point win was evidence of that.
Dane Miller was efficient and the freshman looked athletic, but Dartmouth was able to dictate the tempo and keep Rutgers from running all game long. The whole team spent the game finding their footing, with even Mike Rice getting himself an unnecessary technical foul.
More after the jump...There were flashes of brilliance and flashes of confusion throughout most of the game. Early in the first half, it looked as if Myles Mack wanted to take over the game, trying to push the tempo and knocked down an early three pointer. He finished with 9 points. Dane Miller led the team with 12 points on 4 of 5 shooting, and clearly a more confident jump shot. Eli Carter also finished with 9 points.
The effort was there, all game, however. The team played hard and the defense was well ahead of the offense, forcing Dartmouth into 4 of 22 three point shots. Rutgers' athleticism was evident on the defensive end, as they were able to flummox the Big Green for most of the evening. In fact--with that kind of shooting--if Rutgers hadn't turned the ball over 16 times (8 by the freshman guards), this game would have been a blowout.
Dartmouth played smart and to their strengths. They hung in by capitalizing on their free throws (14 of 16) and getting back on defense. Any time a shot went up, at least 3 players dropped back on defense, hampering the Rutgers fast break. From my count, RU was only able to score on one break, a beautiful pass from Carter from Mack.
Gilvydas Biruta was also frustrated early, and got saddled with 2 relatively quick fouls. He settled down in the second half and was able to use his size to rebound and score. Malick Kone was also impressive, and efficient. One of the most interesting stats was Rutgers 3 point shooting. They only attempted 4 three pointers, and made 2. The Scarlet Knights wanted to pound the ball inside and shoot from with in the arc. The 3 point shooting will come, but the Knights wanted to work an offense inside all game.
All in all, there's a lot of upside. The team is going to get better and get smoother as the season wears on, but if this game was any indication, it's not going to be easy. The next game is a tough one--Tuesday night at Miami on ESPN3.