A shooter. A shooter. My kingdom for a shooter.
Rutgers finally pulled away from a pesky Morgan State team late on grit, defense and free throws. However, if Rutgers had anyone who could make a 3 point shot, this would have been a laugher early.
Rutgers made only 2 three point shots out of 16 attempts, and none of their shooters could get untracked from deep. Mike Williams made one three and Nigel Johnson sank another. And when both shots went down, Rutgers was able to build on it with longer runs. The lack of a three point threat, however, makes it much more difficult to find room and score inside.
Which, then makes what CJ Gettys and Deshawn Freeman did very impressive. Gettys was 7 for 7 from the floor dropping in 15 points. Freeman was even more determined, as he still had the yips around the basket, but tallied 22 points and 12 rebounds. Those two did the dirty work, and Rutgers shot 75% from the foul line to finally pull away.
Mike Williams also a considerable weapon. He scored ten points and pulled down several key rebounds. The kid grinds and often finds himself in the right place at the right time. His shot wasn’t falling, but he still does the little things. Pikiell noticed too, as he started him in the second half over Jonathan Laurent.
On the other side of the ball, Rutgers defense was incredible. While Morgan State was on fire early in the game, the Scarlet Knights locked them down, holding their opponent to a ridiculous 18% from three and 29% overall from the floor. Morgan State’s Tiwian Kendley was a threat, scoring 28 points, but someone has to score in basketball, right?
Finally, all the credit in the world to the student section. Not only did the kids show up, but they were loud. During a second half scrum that involved CJ Gettys getting a ridiculous T, the section serenaded the free throw shooter, Kendley, to the point where he missed the second shot—all while interacting with the fans.
You can feel it, folks. The RAC—the old building—is yawning. She’s starting to wake up.
There’s a lot to build on in this game, but the key is this: In 2015-16, Rutgers won their seventh game in March. This year, they have 7 after their 8 games. This team needs to find 8 more wins this season.
If they had a shooter, you could lock that down and more.