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Rutgers Basketball: Northwestern Prevails

Holds off the Scarlet Knights 51-47.

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Let's get this out of the way from the beginning, that was an ugly game.

Neither team could really get things going offensively, and though Northwestern lead by 9 late in the second half, they still couldn't truly pull away.

However, Rutgers couldn't buy a bucket.  The story of the game is probably the missed start by Kadeem Jack (apparently due to being late for a team breakfast, according to Jerry Carino).  It felt like Jack never fully invested himself in the game after that, too frequently settling for long jump shots or forcing the ball toward the net when he was double covered.  Jack sat for most of the second half as well, once it was clear he didn't have it.

The rest of the Scarlet Knights weren't much better, offensively.  Myles Mack scored 15 points and corralled 7 rebounds, but he was the lone offensive bright spot.  The inability for Rutgers to again attack the basket was on full display, and curiously, when it worked (like a beautiful double cut by Daniels followed by Etou in the 1st half), they never ran the play again.

On the defensive end, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights looked better, specifically on the interior.  Etou, D. J. Foreman, Greg Lewis, and Shaquille Doorson contributed mightly, and helped keep the Wildcats from running away with the game.  But its offensive calamities just kept Rutgers out of the win column.

In one particularly ugly moment, Northwester missed free throws on two consecutive trips, and though Rutgers was down 3 points, they couldn't get any closer.

What is worrisome:  the schedule doesn't get much easier.  This was the Scarlet Knights' best chance to get a win and get some confidence early.  But now, with a nearly ranked Penn State up next, followed by a trip to Nebraska and then hosting Wisconsin, things look dour.

Rutgers needs to get Mack and Jack in sync to continue.

Meanwhile, here's your trivia answer:  Mike Williams (who continues to impress) scored Rutgers first ever Big Ten points on a three point shot.