With the Scarlet Knights trailing 56-53, the game felt like it was about to turn in their favor. Rutgers had the ball and a chance to pull within one or even tie.
Over and over and over again.
If you're on the fence about Eddie Jordan, I can understand that. But tonight showed that Jordan's philosophies both offensive and defensively appear to be sound. Rutgers moved the ball around and got open shots and just couldn't get them to fall. They were in this game, but there was a 6 plus minute drought, while Shabazz Napier was lethal on senior night, scoring 26 points.
Rutgers threw everything they had at the Huskies. Myles Mack had 17, but had trouble guarding Napier. Wally Judge played his best game of the year, but--down four with about 30 seconds left--got tied up for a jump ball. Possession arrow to UConn. JJ Moore was solid on the offensive end, but allowed Huskies to get too open too often.
This is the kind of game you both bang your head against the desk, but also allow to give you hope. Rutgers competed against a very good team, and if they could have gotten a few of those open shots to go down, they would have pulled out the upset.
Even this late in the season, this team can learn lessons. There are only 2 seniors on the roster, and the core needs to continue to grow and learn to play together. If they play like this for the rest of the year, Rutgers can make a dent in the AAC tournament. In a year of trauma, that's something.
But too often, efforts like these have been followed by duds. That can't happen on Saturday. Cincinnati is coming to town with the AAC title on the line. They'll be up to play the game.
Rutgers can hang. They proved that against UConn.
And the season isn't over yet.
Meanwhile, the recruiting continues. Assistant coach Kyle Triggs watched Isaiah Briscoe tonight, and he and Eddie Jordan are expected to be on hand to watch PG Matt Farrell tomorrow, per Corey Evans.