Well that was ugly. On a day that the Rutgers-Seton Hall rivalry resumed, the honoring of the 1967 NIT team occurred and Pat Hobbs seeing his world's colliding, everything was upstaged by reports that Chris Ash was close to being named the new head football coach. It was a positive development, considering the men's basketball team failed to show up in a 84-55 blowout loss to the Pirates. Seton Hall outmuscled, outplayed and clearly wanted it more than Rutgers, outrebounding them by a staggering 53-32 margin.
Rutgers came out on fire, hitting eight of their first ten shots and taking a 20-11 lead 7 minutes into the game. From that point on, Seton Hall took over and ran over Rutgers, outscoring them 73-35 the final 33 minutes of the game. This sadly turned into a repeat of last year's 81-54 loss at the Rock in Newark. Seton Hall had four players score in double figures, led by Khadeen Carrington with 18 points, Angel Delgado with 14 points and both Isaiah Whitehead and Michael Nzei added 13 points each. The Pirates shot 47% from the field and were 7-17 from three-point range.
Rutgers was destroyed down low and had little offensive output, sorely missing injured forward Deshawn Freeman. Senior Greg Lewis could not build on Monday's season best performance, hitting two early jumpers and then disappearing, failing to score the rest of the way and notching just 2 rebounds for the game. Ibrahima Diallo did register 7 rebounds and 2 blocks, but scored just 3 points. Most disappointing was sophomore D.J. Foreman, having a big opportunity to should the scoring load in Freeman's absence. Instead, he scored only 4 points on 2-7 shooting. He did play hard on defense, registering 9 rebounds and 3 steals. However as a team, Rutgers let Seton Hall roam free and score at will after losing the lead with 7:16 to play in the first half.
Corey Sanders played another solid game, improving on his 1 assist performance against Wake Forest with 6 assists today. He scored 14 points on 5-9 shooting. Sanders did get sloppy, turning the ball over 4 times and was unable to get Rutgers back on track offensively once they fell behind. Mike Williams continued to struggle shooting the ball but stayed aggressive and led Rutgers with 16 points on 6-16 from the field. Jonathan Laurent continued on an upward trend, scoring 7 points, including two three-pointers, and 3 rebounds.
The story though was Rutgers as a team shot horribly, going 20-60 from the field for a putrid 33%. Struggles continued from three-point range, as the team shot just 5-19 at a 26% clip. As soon as this team starts missing shots in bunches, they do the worst thing possible, their defense gets soft. It's of course a sign of a young team, but it has to change quickly.
Rutgers is now 3-5 and mired in a four game losing streak. Freeman is out at a minimum the next two games, with the possibility he misses the Monmouth game on December 20th. That leaves Rutgers to play with just nine scholarship players Tueday against Central Connecticut State and next Saturday against George Washington. Eddie Jordan needs his players to do some soul searching and turn things around before the season becomes completely lost. There have been flashes of progress, and before today's game this team was 5 points away from being 5-2. However, this is a young team with little depth and is being exposed for it's lack of discipline on both ends of the floor.