It's all about defense and effort. When Rutgers plays it, they look like a college basketball team.
When they don't, they let Dalton Pepper score 17 points in nine minutes (or so) and fall behind by 20 points, early in the second half.
For a long time, Rutgers didn't look like they wanted to be on the court. Jerome Seagears started over Myles Mack due to a Team Infraction by Mack. Craig Brown started in place of Wally Judge due to a neck injury to Judge. Rutgers came out hot, getting the ball to Kadeem Jack and allowing Jerome Seagers to hit long threes.
But there were danger signs. Rutgers was jogging up the court. Their defense wasn't there at all. And Temple got hot. Pepper couldn't be stopped and Anthony Lee was a beast down low. Rutgers couldn't get a stop. By the first media time out of the second half, Rutgers was down twenty.
Eddie Jordan had seen enough of Jerome Seagears and Myles Mack, planting them firmly on the bench. D'Von Campbell came into the run the offense, and they started chipping away. Rutgers went to a match-up zone in the 2nd half (after what Jordan called the "poorest defense of the season" in the first half).
Oh, did they chip.
Kadeem Jack was a beast, finishing with 18 points while playing center. Temple couldn't stop him. Rutgers battled and with about 3 minutes left, JJ Moore hit back to back 3s to give Rutgers the lead. They had the lead. Unfortunately, that was about it. Temple made another push, getting the lead to six. Myles Mack was re-inserted and promptly hit a long 3 to pull Rutgers within three.
And JJ Moore intercepted a wayward Temple pass, but Moore almost called a timeout Rutgers didn't have. He then tried to cover it up by forcing a bad pass, which was turned over, and that was it.
Another gut punch for Rutgers fans.
So that was Rutgers' season so far in a nutshell. Terrible defense and awful effort, and then a furious well played rally.
Not enough. And now Rutgers is 8-13 (2-6) with Houston coming to the RAC on Saturday afternoon.