Total disaster loomed only a few minutes into the game. With Rutgers trailing, looking like they wanted to be anywhere else, D.J. Foreman went down with a twisted ankle. Second later, Corey Sanders blew a lay-up and it looked like it wasn't going to be the Scarlet Knights night.
What a difference a few minutes made, because with Rutgers trailing by 3 Justin Goode and Omari Grier hit back-to-back threes and the ship was righted. Foreman came back, looking fine. Rutgers ended the half with a 28-12 run, and led by eleven.
UMass-Lowell tried to push back early int he second half, as Isaac White showed no conscience on some threes, but Greg Lewis and Grier settled the ship with some easy baskets and an ability to draw contact. Early in the game, Rutgers was getting beat at the rebounding game, but Lewis, Foreman and Jonathan Laurent stepped up in the second half.
It all seemed like roses and lollipops, but there was still 13 minutes remaining in the game. The opposition, however, would not going away. White got to the basket for a lay-up and cut the lead to 5.
And that's when Big Ten Freshman of the Week Corey Sanders took over. Sanders started corralling rebounds himself and got to the hoop on fast breaks and stemmed the bleeding. With ten minutes left, Grier connected with Sanders on one of the prettiest alley-oops you'll see. This is Corey Sanders team, and that can give you a bit of hope. Sanders filled up the stat sheet: 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists.
Overall it was a good night for the Scarlet Knights, as they warmed themselves up to take on Indiana on Wednesday afternoon. Omari Grier was on fire finishing with 22 points. Even Laurent had a double double. Now Rutgers starts conference play looking to improve on last season's 2-16 record. They are currently 6-7 heading into conference play.
But all that doesn't matter as Rutgers gets ridiculously hot offensively.
Dave White is the author of the Jackson Donne thrillers. You can check them out at his website.