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From the Cheap Seats: 4 Thoughts on East Carolina

Rutgers overcomes tryptophan to beat up East Carolina

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Rutgers Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The Scarlet Knights sit 6-0 on the season after taking care of business against a good offensive team in East Carolina. Aaron covered the 61-47 win here.

Defense, Defense, Defense: Rutgers gave up 21 points in the first half and 27 points in the second half. That is hard to do. The Scarlet Knights have completely bought in on the defensive end, slowing down a team that averaged over 70 points per game. At one point, Corey Sanders read a play as the Carolina point guard crossed midcourt and stepped in front of his path and disrupting the entire play. It was an impressive display and a work of art if you like teams to stop their opposition. This bodes well for the future.

This Team Has an Edge: At one point, Mamadou Doucoure got tangled with the East Carolina center, Dimitri Spasojevic, and they had to be separated at midcourt. Doucoure kept his hands up and didn’t pursue anything that would get him in trouble. However, Spasojevic had something to say to him. On the next play, Spasojevic went to shoot for an uncontested lay-up and Eugene Omoruyi came out of no where to block the shot, hard and clean. Omoruyi made sure to celebrate the defensive play. Also, when Shaquille Doorson had some rimrattling dunks, the entire bench was on their feet celebrating. They like each other and protect each other. Teams that play with a chip on their shoulder don’t get beaten easily and this is another positive sign that Rutgers will at the very least be a pain to play during conference season.

Different Players Step Up: The story last Tuesday was Geo Baker and Corey Sanders. Earlier this year it was Eugene Omoruyi. Tonight it was Deshawn Freeman who tallied a solid double-double on an afternoon where the shots weren’t falling. This team has some depth now, where they’re not relying on one player a night. There will be nights where Mike Williams, Issa Thiam and Geo Baker’s threes are falling. There will be days like today where scoring is a grind. But there’s enough depth on this team that multiple players can step up. The team isn’t fully built yet, but it does appear to have stepped things up from last year. But we will know more Tuesday night, which leads me to...

Pack the RAC: Call your friends, call your roommates, buy up the tickets. Football season will be over. But this team plays really hard and deserves your support. The first real test of season is Tuesday night in the Big Ten ACC challenge. Florida State always plays good defense and is always big so it is an intriguing match-up for Rutgers. But the team needs help. The student section and the rafters should be packed for this one. And it’s time the RAC rocked again. Rutgers has a big 3 game stretch coming up. A full and energetic building will only help spur this team on.