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Enjoying the Build: 4 Thoughts on Penn State

Rutgers offensive problems are at a dire situation.

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Penn State Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers lost 60-43. The second half was as ugly as the score sounds. This is the tough part of the build.

Rutgers Two Best Players Had Tough Games: Corey Sanders and Deshawn Freeman were forcing shots and spent a lot of time on the bench. Both players know the team has a tough time scoring and seem to be forcing it. Two issues I can see: Freeman doesn’t let the game come to him lately. He forces his shot attempts and doesn’t move the ball. Freeman is best moving to the basket off a pass or an offensive rebound. The ball sticks in his hands otherwise. And since the Michigan State game, Corey Sanders has either had the lane taken away from him by defenses or he’s fallen in love with that fade away jumper. Either way, the jumper has never been Sanders strength and it only falls when defenses think he’s going to the hoop. Sanders needs to find a way to get back to the hoops. Both Freeman and Sanders spent a lot of the game on the bench.

The Loss of Mike Williams is Killing Rutgers: Look, I’m not saying Williams would be shooting 50% from three or scoring 18 points per game, but his injury has messed up a lot of things with this team. First, it’s wearing down the guards. Geo Baker hit a 3 to open this game and then was short on nearly everything else—his legs are gone. Souf Mensah has been playing solid defense, but he’s little threat to score. And then there are the smaller parts to the games. Rutgers has been missing a lot of rebounds, both offensive and defensive are getting to the ground, when they don’t normally. The small guy on the court was often getting to the ball and now no one is. It hurts.

Eugene Omoruyi Needs to Play 30 Minutes a Game: He was the best player dressed in Scarlet today and has been recently. Whether it’s drawing charges or being a threat to score down low, he’s everywhere on the court. He plays great defense and he gets under the skin of the other team, nearly drawing Josh Reeves into a technical foul late in the game, while Rutgers was trying to make one last run. He’s going to be a great, memorable player for Rutgers and his development is big.

Late in the Game, Rutgers’ Shoulders Sagged: I hate to say a team quit, but the pressure to defend is clearly getting to the team. There’s no margin for error, because (as we’ve sad ad nauseam), this team cannot score. So late in the game, when the Nittany Lions went on a dunk fest, the fight went out of the Knights a little bit. So much is going against them right now. Shots aren’t falling. The heart of the team is injured badly. They never get a call. It’s hard to blame them for letting up, but it was tough to see.