How To Watch
TV: 7pm on BTN Plus
Radio: Rutgers IMG Radio Network WOR (710 AM) & WCTC (1450 AM); WRSU (88.7 FM); Sirius Radio channel 157
Deshawn Freeman, Shaq Doorson, and Ibrahima Diallo all remain out indefinitely.
FDU has a 4-6 record and own wins over Lafayette, St. Peter's and Towson. They have lost to Villanova, Fordham, Princeton and Temple. The sophomore backcourt of Earl Potts Jr. and Darian Anderson lead the team in scoring, combining to average 30 points a game. Another sophomore guard, Marques Townes from Edison and played at St. Joseph's of Metuchen, averages 10 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals a game. As a team, they score an average of 75 points a game, 7 more than Rutgers averages. However, they give up 80 points a game and have allowed over 90 points three times this season. While they average 43% from the field and 34% from three-point range, FDU is worse at the foul line than Rutgers, averaging only 65%.
Five Keys to the Game
Get Jonathan Laurent going
After averaging 11 points and 4 rebounds on 50% shooting in a three game stretch against Wake Forest, Seton Hall, and Central Connecticut State, Laurent hasn't scored and shot 0-8 in his last two games. The freshman has been up and down but has a ton of potential. To his credit he is playing hard and averaged 5 rebounds a game during this mini-slump. When Laurent is scoring and playing aggressively, he brings an energy and edge to the team. They need to get him back on track tonight.
Continue to build the confidence of Mike Williams
After a three game stretch at the end of November, when Williams shot 5-28 from the field (18%) and 2-15 from three-point range (13%), he has played better of late. He did miss a wide open three in the last minute against Monmouth that would have tied the game, a shot he has to make. However, he is averaging over 12 points his last four games and seems to regained some of his confidence. Rutgers desperately needs Williams to stabilize and be a consistent scorer once league play begins. Williams needs a solid performance tonight to keep things trending in the right direction.
Protect the basketball
FDU is 15th in the country in steals, averaging 9.3 thefts per contest. Rutgers averages 15 turnovers a game and can't allow FDU to get momentum by giving up the basketball. Rutgers did a good job moving the ball around on offense and only turning it over 9 times against Monmouth. They need to continue that tonight. Corey Sanders is the key in making that happen. They also need to utilize pass fakes and make sharp passes, as FDU likes to overplay the passing lanes.
Rutgers actually outperformed Monmouth at the free throw line, a team that was 2nd in the country entering Sunday's game. Rutgers shot 22-30 (73%) and need to continue that trend tonight. FDU is not a good free throw shooting team (65%) and Rutgers needs to use that to their advantage. Sanders, Daniels, and Williams all average between 77%-79% and need to get to the line early and often.
Bounce Back from Sunday
Rutgers played hard against Monmouth but were undone by poor shooting, averaging an ice cold 30% from the field. It's two days before Christmas, the RAC will have an empty student section, and they are playing with only eight scholarship players. FDU is not a good team, but they are capable of beating Rutgers if they don't come to play tonight. Senior leadership is so important on nights like this and Greg Lewis, Bishop Daniels and Omari Grier need to ensure the effort is there. Hopefully, the team plays to their capability and makes sure the issue is never in doubt.