In a season of disappointments, the Rutgers basketball team looked like it was just about ready to pack it in.
The offense had gone away, relegated to quick, bad shots. Myles Mack had two fouls and was tied to the bench. The defense was napping, and South Florida (one of the worst offensive teams in the nation) took advantage. USF had a ten point halftime lead, which they immediately pushed to fifteen after the intermission.
It looked like Rutgers was ready to start a nice little offseason 3 games early. But Kadeem Jack and J. J. Moore weren't ready to go home losers.
Moore scored 20 points, most of them by attacking the rim, a skill he rarely displays. Kadeem Jack also had 20, the final two coming with about 15 second left. It gave Rutgers the 1 point lead, after the teams had spent the last five minutes going back and forth. Jack had to work for each and every point, and those last two came on a lay-up after he'd been hammered in the paint all night.
Meanwhile, for the Bulls, Victor Rudd was hot all night. scoring 26 points. The shots he made were difficult ones, too. Fade away jumpers and off balance shots. And it came down to Rudd in the end. With 4.9 seconds left (after USF blew an alley-oop that probably should have been a foul on Rutgers), Rudd got the ball in the lane, and took a hook shot. He was triple teamed on the shot, with Moore, Jack and Wally Judge in his grill. The ball bounce off the back rim and was tapped away by Rutgers.
The kind of win a team who is still showing signs of grit gets. Jerome Seagears, after being stuck to the bench, got a lot of play as Myles Mack was off. Seagears mostly played within the offense and helped spurred the comeback.
Overall, a happy ending for Rutgers fans. Take it and keep going forward.