Defense, defense, defense: Early in the second half, Niagara made a surge and took a 42-41 lead. In previous years, Rutgers would have been in a dogfight the rest of the way. But under this new administration, Rutgers dug in. According to the radio show afterward, the Scarlet Knights held Niagara to one field goal over the next 11 minutes or so. That is how you lock someone down. In fact, at one point with about 4 minutes left, Niagara was shooting only 29%.
Keep Your Cool: I’m not exactly sure what happened in this game, but one thing is clear, Rutgers is gritty. But they also had trouble keeping their mouth shut. Corey Sanders got thrown out of the game for amassing two technicals. CJ Gettys fouled a player to keep him from getting an easy dunk. There was a lot of chippiness in this one, but some of that hardnose play with both hurt and help Rutgers down the stretch. They have to learn to pick their spots.
Nigel Johnson is rounding into form: The Kansas State transfer scored 20 points and took over the game when Rutgers needed him to. He is turning himself into a leader and a quality guard coming off the bench. Pikiell made a point of saying they get the most production out of their bench. More than anyone else in the country. That is on Nigel.
Maybe they can shoot: Rutgers has been taking good shots and in their past few games have been making some threes. They made 7 today. So far the competition hasn’t been great, but if Rutgers can make 5-7 threes a game, that will keep competition honest. A 4-0 start. Wow.
For our game recap of Rutgers’ win over Niagara, click here.