This was what Rutgers fans envisioned when J.J. Moore received his waiver to play immediately.
Two weeks after the Cougars beat the Scarlet Knights by 22 at their place, Moore and Rutgers returned the favor. Moore scored 27 points and put on an absolute show, whether it was an off balance 3 pointer, or some thunderous dunks on fast breaks, the Pittsburgh transfer finally put it together. Moore was the man tonight, and Houston put only boys on the court.
Myles Mack played Robin to Moore's Batman tonight, scoring 25 points of his own. He started alongside Jerome Seagears, which freed up Mack from having to run point guard duties the entire night. Mack and Moore kept Rutgers ahead from wire to wire.
And just when Houston tried to make a run, Kadeem Jack showed up. Saddled with foul trouble for most of the game, Jack was still able to score 16 and settle down a team that let a 25 point lead be whittled to 14.
As Jerry Carino said, this seemed to be the kind of game Eddie Jordan wants Rutgers to play. Fast paced, fun on offense, while the defense gets deflections, turnovers and pushes the tempo. Rutgers gave up 70 points, but they got the stops when they needed them. Houston never made a true push to take this game, and it never really felt like it was out of Rutgers' hands.
Now Rutgers sits at 3-6 in conference, tied for 6th in the AAC. Being sixth (or higher) is the goal, as that lands the team a bye in the AAC tournament. But to do this, Rutgers has to take this performance and use it going forward. They need to find a road win or two and upset someone at home.
The season is far from over. But it doesn't get easier. Rutgers takes on Memphis in Memphis on Tuesday.