After the loss to St. Peter's, no one expected the Knights to challenge the Commodores for a win in Brooklyn. But Eddie Jordan's squad came out strong from the start against Vanderbilt, with the game staying close since the end of the first half when both teams were tied at 31.
Rutgers did have an 11-point lead at one point, but a 13-2 run by Vanderbilt kept the game within reach for Kevin Stallings. Four Scarlet Knights scored double-digit points on the night, with Myles Mack and Kadeem Jack each netting 20 points. Mack went 4/7 from beyond the arc, while Jack put on a dunk performance that excited the Rutgers' faithful in attendance. G Mike Williams netted 11 points off the bench after coming in to replace Bishop Daniels, who left with a lower leg injury early in the first half. He was helped to the locker room and never returned to the game.
Center Damian Jones was Vanderbilt's leading scorer with 21 points as the Commodores found success in the paint, but was tagged with three fouls before the end of the first half. F Luke Kornet helped keep Vandy close all game, sinking four threes and a jump shot for 14 points.
The key in this game was offensive rebounding - Rutgers outrebounded Vanderbilt 38-32, and many of them came on offensive possessions. The Knights took advantage by converting those second chance opportunities into points. It was a great team effort tonight that shows you what it looks like when everything can come together. The spread had Rutgers getting five points, so the oddsmakers knew this one would be close.
Tomorrow night, Rutgers will play in the Barclays Center championship game at 9:30 PM on NBC Sports Network. The opponent will be the winner of La Salle versus #8 Viriginia.