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The Oral History of the 2003-04 Rutgers Basketball Team: Part II

by Danny Breslauer and Dave White

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Check out Part 1 here.

This is where things start to get a little crazy. Crazy in a good way, that is.

After getting out of the gate quickly with a 7-2 start, Rutgers basketball settled in for the long Big East basketball season. There was cautious optimism surrounding the team, as the freshmen guards—Marquis Webb and Quincy Douby, seemed to mesh well with veterans Herve Lamizana, Ricky Shields and Sean Axani. The bench players, like Juel Wiggan and Adrian Hill, filled their roles well. And head coach Gary Waters had the team believing they could beat anyone at the RAC.

My memory of the conference season is a little hazy, as I was taking graduate school courses that would cause me to miss some games (like the memorable Villanova game at the Pavilion). But I was in the house for the match-up against UConn, and could barely hear myself think. It was one of the loudest nights at the RAC.

But, enough, let’s allow the professionals to talk about it. Our panel continues with Rutgers forward Justin Piasecki, uber fan and former RVision announcer Danny Breslauer, SID John Beisser, radio play-by-play man Bruce Johnson, Court Club president Brian Kelley, assistant coach Larry DeSimpelare and superstar guard Quincy Douby.

ORAL HISTORY OF 2003-2004 Rutgers MBB Season: Part 2 of 3 – Conference Season

1) Despite the sour taste of the UTEP tournament finale, Rutgers entered the conference slate at 7-2 (with losses to UTEP and Wisconsin) and HIGH expectations for BIG EAST play. What was the mood around the team like as New Year’s turned 2003 into 2004?

Larry DeSimpelare: Great non-conference.  Two OK losses.  Still a young team but we knew we had pieces.  Just not sure how the young kids would respond and how our injured players would bounce back.  Herve was a special player too....and he gave a versatility similar to [the pro team] Golden State.

John Beisser: I don’t recall the mood exactly but I figure it was good. Guard rotation dynamic was not an issue. Juel always saw himself as a scorer and probably wished he had played more minutes in his career. I personally think he had a solid career and got the most out of his abilities. Ax was a tough customer inside, played bigger than his size, and was crafty (has there ever been a crafty righty?). Herve began to showcase his talents, it was coming together you could feel.

Bruce Johnson: I just remember the UTEP loss being a humbling experience for the team, particularly on a long flight home, particularly with Georgetown and UConn on the horizon.

Brain Kelley: UTEP was a good team that season, ending up in the NCAA’s. I don’t recall anyone being overly worried. As a fan I felt like we were playing with house money being so far above .500 and playing well as Big East play started. The first league game at Georgetown was a game we should have had in retrospect, despite never leading and being down double digits. Then came the 1 point loss to #1 ranked UConn at the RAC, despite getting crushed on the boards and shooting just 32% for the game. The defeat, while still a loss, showed that RU was ready to compete against the highest caliber opponents the Big East had to offer.

Justin Piasecki: Wisconsin we went into feeling good about beating them even though I think they had won a record number of home games in a row and Devin Harris was favorite to be Big 10 Player of the year.  After losing we moved on quickly.  UTEP we thought we were going to breeze through that tournament.  Northwestern actually ended up being a tougher opponent than we thought.  UTEP was a fast team and very aggressive/cocky, which I think surprised us.  We were upset about losing that game.  After the game Ax and I went to a local bar to meet up with one of Ax’s friends who was the starting 2-guard for UTEP.  We walked in to a packed bar and Juel/Ricky were there which was funny.  They thought they wouldn’t see anyone.  Billy Gillespie was also there hanging with some co-eds.  No surprise there.  We were ready for the Big East portion of the season to start at that point.

2) At this point, the Quincy Douby that Rutgers fans would fall in love with come March hadn’t truly emerged. How was the dynamic in the guard rotation with the likes of Ricky Shields, Marquis Webb, Juel Wiggan and Douby?

DeSimpelare: We all knew Q was a talented scorer.  We kept him on the bench for most of the year because we liked the scoring punch coming off the bench.  In time....we all KNEW he had to be in the rotation, but to his defense, he truly improved in all areas of his game.  He was ready!

Johnson: At this point of the season, the guard play was more than adequate except for the typical freshmen inconsistency for Douby and Webb.

Kelley: The roles of Webb and Shields were never in question. They were starters from the beginning of the season and that didn’t waver much. Wiggan was on the outside looking in for the most part, with his minutes being mined as a defensive specialist and reserve point guard. Douby was always the wild card. For the longest time, it felt to me like the coaching staff was deliberately holding Quincy back a bit…not in a negative way…but just didn’t want to go that small in a league that featured giants down low, and felt that Shields and Webb were the best starting options.

I also recall tales of there being some "tension" between Shields and Douby, and even some disciplinary stuff going on behind the scenes. Rumors are just that though, rumors. I never thought much of it till some of it obviously boiled over onto the court later in the year.

Quincy Douby: Ricky Shields had a lot of experience; he was a very good shooter. He could take over a game.

Herve Lamizana and Sean Axani would cement themselves as a formidable post duo in January… while mentoring up-and-comer Adrian Hill. What do you remember about the post players’ development?

DeSimpelare: Loved their versatility.  Ax was an underrated player.  Tough.  Competitive.  Selfless.  A player’s leader. I loved coaching Ax and always appreciate ALL that he stood for....both on and off the court.

Johnson: Lamizana was very talented…and clutch at times, both inside and outside.  Axani was a good defender.  And Hill definitely added a needed toughness to the team.

Kelley: Ax was a cerebral guy, never one that was going to dominate you with outright overwhelming physical skill. He was a crafty guy, doing the dirty work. Gary Waters loved that about him. Herve was so gifted physically, he could do anything he wanted with the basketball. That’s why he’s still earning a living playing professionally in Europe, Asia and Africa today…even representing his Ivory Coast national team on occasion. During his time on the Banks, he accounted for so many memorable moments…but left me with a feeling after he was done that he missed out on so many more. I’m not really sure why I remember it that way though. Adrian Hill is another guy that is still playing today. He battled injuries during his time at RU, more than most even know. During this particular season he started about half the games and cleaned the glass with regularity. He was never known as a scorer, but always led the league in one thing….SWEATBANDS!

Piasecki: AD was a very athletic player and very aggressive.  Coach Mance spent a lot of time working on Adrian’s low-post moves and he really worked hard on improving his skills.  You could never take that away from AD, he had dog in him as they say that he would never back down.  That is something that can’t be taught and is a thing you are born with.  When it comes to mentoring him, Ax tried but AD did not really want to listen to him.  Herve knew this and knew how to speak to Adrian.  AD is the type of guy who you tell something to and he will remember, but he does not like to be lectured.  Ax likes to teach/lecture which did not go over well with Adrian.

4) Year 3 was the first time that "Waters Pressure" was truly a thing. Was this press-first, ask questions later philosophy a positive or negative for RU in BIG EAST play? Would the team have benefited from a more halfcourt-oriented style, considering the shooters in its lineup?

DeSimpelare: It always was a feel thing....and something Waters believes in.  But not at all costs.  It is a hard way to play....and isn’t for everyone.

Beisser: It’s funny, but Gary used to bristle when people referred to his defense as a full-court press. Pressure? Yes, but in the halfcourt, maybe a three-quarter quart trap at times, but it was not a full-court pressing defense, he always insisted.

Obviously, I’ve never coached and while I think I know the game better than the casual fan, my X’s and O’s acumen lags way behind true coaches. I think Gary’s strength was/is on the defensive side. However, from where I sat (midcourt, floor level on the road, upstairs in press box at the RAC (standing actually!), I thought we got plenty of looks from our deep shooters. Overall, most would agree, I’m sure, we overachieved at home throughout the Waters era. The RAC atmosphere was definitely in the heads of Calhoun, Boeheim, later on Pitino, etc. I remember Calhoun’s quote about the RAC being aptly named, referring I think to a Rack in olden times. We used it in the media guide for several years

Johnson: I feel the "Waters Pressure" was the right way to go for this team.  It created more possibilities than a standard half-court game because the shooting at time was inconsistent.

Kelley: Maybe it’s just me…but I don’t really recall the whole Waters Pressure concept truly materializing the way it was drawn up. That said, I wouldn’t second-guess Gary Waters in any way when it comes to coaching. He and his staff were getting the best from guys that, with rare exception, were up against NBA prospects night in and night out in the Big East.

Piasecki: Waters pressure really happened our 1st year with the new staff (Rashod Kent’s senior year).  That was the main reason we went 16-1 or something like that at home.  We worked on the pressure in practice a lot and took great pride in our TEAM defense.  Waters’ second year we did not pressure that much and I believe it is the main reason we did not reach our full potential and make the NCAAs in Jerome Coleman’s senior year.  To this day that pisses me off that we didn’t use that pressure.  We had a really good team.  Big East teams at the time did not use the full court press much.  So it was something they were not used to seeing every game.  Depending on the team we were playing against you figured out the defensive scheme.

5) Around February 6th, this team was squarely on the Bubble. Other than the obvious bad luck in Blacksburg, what went wrong?

DeSimpelare: Ugh.  Box out Ricky!  [Virginia Tech was a] Devastating loss.  Had some carryover for sure.

Beisser: Not sure exactly. Four straight wins over St. John’s, at Nova, ND and Miami at the RAC, got us going. Blown out at Seton Hall, followed by close loss at ‘Cuse (63-61). We’ve played a lot of tight games at the Dome, check out the scores, but have never won there. I remember Johnny McCrimmon taking and hitting a layup at the buzzer when were down three, to lose by one, under Wenzel (95-96 probably). And one year Terrance Roberts hit a miracle three to offset a 40-plus game by Douby and ruin what would have gone down as the game-winning three-pointer from Webb in the corner moments before. I’ll bet this was Roberts’ lone career three-pointer (editorial note: Roberts went 5-25 for his career from three-point range).

Speaking of Roberts, and I’m way off tangent here, but I remember him being a member of the "Fab Five" that Gary tried to come to RU at same time, not long after Michigan had pulled this off. If I recall, the five were Roberts (St. Anthony), Jamar Nutter, Darryl Watkins (Paterson Catholic), Marquis Webb (Paterson Catholic) and the kid from Delaware, who went to Nova, Will Sheridan.

The RU staff had a recruiting reception for the five in the locker room (which Bannon did a great job I thought of designing and dressing up), with the recruits and their families. Sheridan never made it, car trouble, we were told. The other four, I think, were there. Obviously, we ended up with ‘only’ Marquis. I sometimes call him the ‘Fab One’ around here at Wagner! Marquis is the best.

Johnson: I don't think anything went wrong to prevent this team from not going to the NCAA Tournament.  It was the typical Rutgers case of just not enough talent in an extremely competitive league.

Kelley: Well, Seton Hall absolutely destroyed us up at their place, which was followed by a 2 point loss on the road against Syracuse in the Dome. All of a sudden we are 5-6 in the league and in need of some help. We routed VA Tech at home in a game RU led 32-3 at one point, then put away provisional D1 program Northern Colorado at the RAC by 50. NFL fans might remember that NCU featured future San Diego Charger/Tampa Bay Bucs Pro Bowl wide receiver Vincent Jackson as their do-everything star player. Earlier in the year, we had beaten a Princeton team that featured long time Major League Baseball player Will Venable.

The lopsided loss at BC that followed showed that RU had some cracks in the armor. I was behind the bench for every second as tempers flared between Douby and Shields early and often in what amounted to a selfish second half shooting contest between the two players as the game slipped away in a 32 point loss. All I can say was that it certainly was the low point of the season, and the first and only time I remember a Waters’ coached team playing that way.

A quick turnaround and nice win over WVU followed…but then came the straw that broke the NCAA dream right in half, the 1 point loss at Virginia Tech. Yes, the same VaTech squad we beat by 33 at the RAC 2 weeks prior. Janet and I made the hellish 6 and ½ hour drive down to Blacksburg for the game and watched in horror as the likes of Zabian Dowdell and Jamon Gordon erased a 15 point RU lead with 2 minutes to go in the second half, surging out to a 4 point advantage. Shields knocked down a 3, Herve hit a couple of free throws then blocked a shot with just a few seconds remaining. Juel Wiggan was fouled, but missed the front end, opening the door for disaster. Gordon jacked up a shot which was missed, but the immortal Coleman Collins tipped in the rebound as time expired to truly nail the coffin on the NCAA hopes that season. It was the single most crushing moment I’ve ever experienced as a Rutgers basketball fan…not even close. We just couldn’t believe what we just saw, or the fact that we had that same damn 6 and ½ hour drive back the next day to show for it. I can’t imagine how the team dealt with it if I was impacted that hard.

A 2 point loss to a good Seton Hall team at the RAC and another loss to Virginia Tech in the Big East Tournament meant once and for all that the 16-12 Scarlet Knights would be NIT bound.

Piasecki: We were on the bubble, we knew it, the NCAA told Rutgers we were and if we had won one of our last 3 games we would have been in.  It was devastating to us the loss at Virginia Tech.  That was a horrible flight back.  Very quiet.  It didn’t help that our flight attendant on the private charter was drunk and annoying.  Coach Waters was pissed.  When we found out we didn’t make the NCAA tournament we had a team meeting where Coach Waters asked us if we wanted to accept the NIT invitation.  He said if we were not going to take it seriously we would decline but if we accept, we are going to do everything in our power to win the whole darn thing.  There was a bit of a debate about playing in the NIT amongst the players.  I almost feel like Coach motivated us by giving the team the option.  But when he said "we are going to go there to win the whole thing" it breathed new light into us.  It was Herve, Ax and myself last hoorah in college.

The sting of the UTEP loss carried over into 2004, as Rutgers trudged into the Verizon Center on Jan. 3 to take on Georgetown in the BIG EAST opener. The undefeated Hoyas led by 10 at the break, but RU would storm back and make it a one-possession game in the final minute. After a Marquis Webb three missed the mark, a few Georgetown free throws iced a 63-57 Hoyas win. Webb joined Douby, Adrian Hill and Calvin Wooten in double figures that afternoon, but Brandon Bowman’s 20 points led the Georgetown attack. Rutgers did not have time to sulk. No. 1 in the nation was coming to Piscataway in three days in the form of the UConn Huskies.

Connecticut 75 Rutgers 74, January 6, 2004 – Piscataway, NJ

DeSimpelare: What I remember the most about this game was consoling Ricky Shields.  He took an ill-advised shot at the end of the game and if he makes it....we probably win, but it was early in the shot clock and game clock and it was DEEP!

My consolation turned to being pissed he was mad at Coach for getting on him for the shot.  To this day....I call it a "big ball" shot.  If you got the balls to shoot it, you better have the balls to handle the results. Both good and bad!  I use it with every player I have coached since and I reference Ricky all the time.  One of the best players and kids I ever coached.  He wanted to take the big shot ... and the spoils that come from making it....he just didn't want to hear about the stuff of missing a BAD SHOT.

Danny Breslauer: Can losing to the eventual national champs be a heartbreaker? I mean, Rutgers had no business beating No. 1, but in those days, RU could beat ANYONE at the RAC. I don’t care if any national champion of the last 50 years walked into Piscataway, those early Waters teams would have given them a game. This night was no exception, and what a freakin’ atmosphere for early January. Ben Gordon and Emeka Okafor were just too much to handle… but man, were Douby, Lamizana and Shields great that night. 10 threes. That’s how you stick around with the top team in the nation. Everyone always talks about whether Douby could have fouled Taliek Brown in the final seconds to give RU a last shot… but whatever, the point had been made. This team was good.

Johnson: One of the great games in the Waters Era…despite the one-point loss.  Eventual national champion….future NBA players in Emeka Okafor, Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva…the RAC rocking the way it used to in its heyday…great effort by the Scarlet Knights.

Kelley: This one still stings to think about, but honestly with the team UConn had and how we defended when it mattered, we had no business even being in the game. Okafor, Villanueva, Gordon…holy smokes!

Douby: I remember going into that game as a freshman, they had some of the top players in the country, but we weren’t intimidated. The RAC gave us an advantage as an old school gym, the fans and alumni were unbelievable that year. I think it was a high point. I remember feeling we could win, but being nervous. I didn’t shoot too well, but we definitely had a shot to beat them. They came through and won by one point.

Piasecki: The visitor’s locker room was on the other side of RU bathroom. You could hear what was going on. Calhoun was m-fing the team at the top of his lungs. We could hear him throughout halftime.

Rutgers 65 Providence 64, January 10, 2004 – Piscataway, NJ

Breslauer: My parents are well aware that I will never forgive them for making me go on a school trip and missing this game in person. Remember the days of 1-800-TELL-ME? It got a workout that day. I’ll never forget returning to my hotel room to a message on my cell phone… which I think my parents had purchased for me a year or two before. It was my little brother on the RAC floor after storming it… and Herve comes on the phone, and yells "WE WON." It was awesome. You could not have scripted a better finish. Herve banks a 3 to get RU within 2. Timeout. Donnie McGrath needs to miss two free throws. He does. Douby executes a perfect dribble up the court to draw Ryan Gomes two steps down off of Herve, and boom that huge three-pointer. Plus he blocks the inbounds to end it. Wow.

DeSimpelare: Not much to say other than it was a great play.  Made by a great player....over another great player....and we got a little gift from Donnie.

Kelley: Most don’t remember how big of a win this was, particularly coming off the nature of the two losses to start the Big East season to GTown and UConn. Providence had just snuck into the Top 25. Pretty sure we were down at least ¾ of the game, and definitely sure that Herve Lamizana hit 2 big time 3s in the last 11 seconds, right in front of my beloved Section 118. Definitely a game I will never forget, and still go back and watch for a kick now and again.

Johnson: To begin with, it was a big win because it broke a three-game losing streak…and it was a victory in league.  But it's most memorable for Herve Lamizana's buzzer-beater over future NBA player Ryan Gomes.

Douby: Gary Waters knew we had to go full court. He diagramed a play called ‘Herve on the right side.’ He told me to attack and make the defense suck in. Kick it out to an open player. I went hard right, did an in and out, got in there a little bit, and I was able to get it to Herve for a clean look. He knocked it down. I was so excited we won, I felt like I hit the shot.

After two incredibly emotional home games that resulted in a split to start conference play, the trap games of all trap games awaited on Jan. 13 – the rescheduled Monmouth contest from the Dec. 6 blizzard. Rutgers would trail 32-31 at the half to the 8-4 Hawks, but led 60-53 in the final minutes. Monmouth would score the final 7 points of regulation, and Dwayne Byfield’s three-pointer with 2.8 seconds left sent the game to overtime. That is where Marquis Webb took over, scoring 8 of his 11 points in the final 1:06 of the extra session to give RU a 78-75 win. Five Rutgers players hit double figures, including Herve Lamizana’s 18 points, and RU hit 25-of-31 free throws. The next eight days brought two 10-point road losses at Pittsburgh and Miami, as Ricky Shields posted 29 points over the two games. Coming home on Jan. 24 at 9-6 (1-4 in the BIG EAST), Rutgers would post one of the greatest two-week stretches of the Waters era.

Rutgers 78 St. John’s 70, January 24, 2004 – Piscataway, NJ

Rutgers 71 Villanova 68, January 28, 2004 – Villanova, PA

Rutgers 81 Notre Dame 70, January 31, 2004 – Piscataway, NJ

Rutgers 72 Miami (FL) 70 February 4, 2004 – Piscataway, NJ

DeSimpelare: Loved this (Villanova) game for Juel.  That kid made as many strides as any player.  Both mentally and physically!  He deserved this game!  And all the success he has had since!

Dang ... I had forgotten about these.  Q was awesome against SJU.

Breslauer: This stretch was pretty magical. Douby goes 5-for-5 from deep against the Johnnies at the RAC… RU finally wins at the Pavilion against Nova in a game I’ll always remember for Juel Wiggan’s 10 assists, which was a rare feat at Rutgers in the post-Billet era. Of course, the Jordan Cornette ejection/technical following the Herve/Douby scuffle highlights a fantastic RAC environment vs. Notre Dame. And then Ricky Shields outshoots one of the best Miami teams ever – with Darius Rice, Robert Hite, etc. February 6th, 13-6 (5-4 in the BIG EAST). I wish I wasn’t such an optimist. I really thought the then 13-year drought was a month from ending. Spoiler alert: the drought is now at 25 years.

Kelley: Wiggan’s finest hour as a Scarlet Knight…and the first ever RU win at the Pavilion. League road wins don’t happen often for RU, and even back around this time when we were largely competitive, they were still a tough get. Remember Foye having a rough night…O for something or other. The fact that he is still playing a role at a high level in the NBA speaks volumes about this win.

Toss in the Villanova road win, and this string marked the first ever 4-game win streak in the Big East for Rutgers basketball. It started with a 5-for-5 3-point shooting night against the Johnnies for Douby, a Douby and Lamizana dual attack against that twerp Chris Thomas and Notre Dame, and finished up with a thrilling OT victory against the Hurricanes led by some timely shooting by Quincy. RU was 10-1 at home at that point.

Johnson: Rutgers' first-ever win at the Pavilion…and it was highlighted by Juel Wiggan's career-high ten assists.  AND one of the rare Big East quality road wins in RU's first eight seasons in the league.  Quite a night! Heady times for Rutgers basketball….three straight wins at the RAC…the best stretch in RU Big East history since the Bannon team's run to the league tournament semi-finals.  It was one of the few times that I actually felt that Rutgers was going to be an annual factor in the Big East.

Douby: Everybody was excited. We were on a roll. I remember Notre Dame was one of the top teams at the time, but at the RAC it was just so tough for opponents. I remember Jordan Cornette giving me an illegal screen, I tried to sell it to the ref a bit and the call went my way. He got frustrated and got kicked out of the game. That helped because he was a rebounding junkyard dog.

At 13-6, 5-4 in the BIG EAST, postseason hopes were renewed until a Feb. 7 trip to East Rutherford to take on Seton Hall. Andre Barrett would score 20 points and Rutgers never competed, falling 85-58 to its in-state rival. Three days later, RU would drop a 63-61 contest against Syracuse at the Carrier Dome, despite 20 points on six three-pointers from Ricky Shields. In 16 minutes of action, Quincy Douby was held scoreless. Hakim Warrick led the way with 16 points and 14 rebounds for Syracuse. Rutgers would bounce back with two wins at the RAC, 85-52 over Virginia Tech (including a 30-0 run which turned a 3-2 deficit to a 32-3 lead) and 102-52 over Division II Northern Colorado. Following a 76-44 drubbing at Conte Forum by Boston College, Rutgers would once again somehow flip the script and beat West Virginia 74-53 at the RAC behind 24 points from Shields. Despite the whirlwind February, RU was still on the NCAA Tournament bubble as the calendar turned to March.

Virginia Tech 71 Rutgers 70, March 3, 2004 – Blacksburg, VA

Breslauer: 16-9 (7-7 in the BIG EAST) heading into this first game of March. Honestly, Luis Gonzalez’s bloop off Mariano Rivera, attending the Bloody Sock game in the Bronx, James Townsend’s drop at West Virginia, this ranks right up there with one of the most brutal sports nights of my lifetime fandom. I’ll never forget listening to Bruce’s call of Coleman Collins’ tip-in after RU blows the second-half lead in Blacksburg. Hard to believe RU had blasted Va Tech at the RAC the month before with a 30-0 run. Just a heartbreaker. I still don’t know who missed the box-out. This one has haunted RU for years.

Johnson: One of the most devastating losses in my 20-plus years as RU pbp man.  When Virginia Tech missed moments before the buzzer, it quickly came to mind that the Scarlet Knights had secured a win that might catapult them into the NCAA Tournament.  BUT in a millimeter, Coleman Collins tipped in the missed shot at the buzzer…and the rest is bad history.  Another long trip back to Piscataway after a gut-wrenching loss.

Douby: I remember being really disappointed. We should have won that game. I think Juel [Wiggan] had an opportunity to put the lead a little higher with free throws. They came down and tipped in the missed shot in at the buzzer. It was one of the worst feelings, we were all staring at the floor as a team in the locker room.

DeSimpelare: Ugh....I have tried to put this out of my mind....just a little box out and we win!  And probably dance!

A shell-shocked Rutgers team would lose 66-64 to Seton Hall on Senior Day at the RAC, as Marquis Webb’s last-second three pointer missed wide. Later on, media reports would indicate that Coach Waters was told the wrong inbounding point and had intended to run a play for Herve Lamizana to try to recreate the magic of the Providence win from January. At 16-11, 7-9 in the BIG EAST, Rutgers limped into Madison Square Garden for the conference tournament.

Virginia Tech 61 Rutgers 58, March 10, 2004 – New York, NY (Big East Tournament 1st Round)

Breslauer: A tradition unlike any other. My dad used to take my brother and me out of school in Highland Park for the Noon Wednesday session at MSG – which Rutgers almost always played in. Both teams played a pretty miserable game… Marquis Webb was easily the best player on the court that day. I have no idea why Calvin Wooten comes off the bench, following an injury to take that last shot. I loved Gary, but that one always puzzled me.

Johnson: The lasting impression of this loss was Calvin Wooten's air-ball three-point field goal attempt out of the corner with time running out.  The play was right in front of me and it looking like someone had opened a door at the Garden and the wind blew the shot awry, like shooting on the playground on a gusty day.  Another short turnaround train trip from MSG to New Brunswick.

DeSimpelare: Ditto! Tried to forget!

Check back tomorrow for the final installment as we take a look at Rutgers’ magical NIT run to the Garden.