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From the Cheap Seats: 4 Thoughts on Northwestern

Rutgers loses another heartbreaker at the line

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Free Throws: Yes, this is the big one. Rutgers misses free throws in the first half. The miss free throws in the clutch. They miss them and miss them and miss them. And while it may seem easily fixable, it’s not. Yes, Rutgers already has a sports psychologist on staff, one who was a former basketball coach himself. But the problem is this, the team isn’t full of good shooters. And because of that, each one tightens up at the line, knowing that if they don’t make them, the next guy might not either. Hopefully, Geo Baker and whomever else comes in next year can knock them down from the line. When someone is good at it, it takes a lot of pressure off everyone else.

This is my first gut punch loss: Yeah, the Wisconsin game hurt. But by the time the game was lost, it was in overtime and I had a few minutes to mentally accept it. The Northwestern game came down to the final minute after Rutgers seemingly controlled the entire second half. That said, gut punch losses are better than 39 point losses of the previous season.

The pieces are coming together: The past two games, the shooting from the field has improved, with Rutgers shooting over 50% in the first half last night. And while the defense has looked worn down at times, Rutgers did a great job of limiting Northwestern in the second half, getting stops and securing the ball. There are still three games left, and if Rutgers can bring this kind of effort at home, they have a shot to put another in the win column.

Eugene Omoruyi and Shaquille Doorson: These two are truly developing. Omoruyi isn’t a perfect player, but he is consistently finding himself in the right spot on the floor. He looks to make the extra pass and he’s clearly earned Pikiell’s trust. He had his best game last night and could develop into a force by his junior year. Meanwhile, Doorson has become a true back-up to CJ Gettys. He’s defending and becoming a tough rebounder. His offensive game is slower to come, but the future truly looks bright for these two.

This is the year one we hope for as Rutgers fans. For the game recap and highlights, check out Aaron’s post.