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Enjoying the Build: 4 Thoughts on St. John’s

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Rutgers Youth Shows as the Scarlet Knights get run out of the building.

NCAA Basketball: Loyola-Maryland at St. John Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers got beat badly tonight, an 84-65 drubbing.

St. John’s Couldn’t Be Stopped: From the Johnnies first possession of the game, it was clear they were feeling their oats. St. John’s could have made a three pointer with their eyes closed and a hand in their face. Everything went in for them. A lot of the threes were well defended—or so I thought from my vantage point. Every time Rutgers made a mini-run to get back in the game in the first half, the Red Storm made a shot. And in the second half, it got even worse. The Red Storm are talented and experienced. Rutgers needs to grow still.

Rutgers Offense Wasn’t Clicking: You could see the game plan on the floor, but it wasn’t working. Rutgers tried to move the ball and make the quick pass, but a lot of passes were bobbled by players and the shots came a second too late. Sometimes, in the second half, they were forced. Early in the game, the young Scarlet Knights seemed nervous in a big game for the first time. Even though Ron Harper, Jr. found himself in the right place at the right time again and Montez Mathis was able to show his ability to get the rim, the team just seemed a hair off in being crisp while executing. It killed them. However, I thought the freshmen looked good. Rutgers made its best run in the first half with Caleb McConnell, Mathis and Harper on the court. Also, they should have fed the big men. Myles Johnson and Shaq Doorson had position all night, and the Knights could never get them the ball.

St. John’s 1-2-2 Press Was a Killer: In the second half, the Johnnies put a 1-2-2 press on Rutgers nearly the entire time. And while Rutgers didn’t have turnover problems, they did take their time breaking it. So once the offense got settled there was only 22 seconds or less left on the shot clock. It took Rutgers out of its rhythm and ensured the blowout was on. There would be no comeback.

Fred Hill Jr was in the crowd: Okay, listen, I’m a fan. I’m a fan which means at times I’m superstitious. And the first person I saw when I sat down in my seat was Fred Hill Jr. He was across the court sitting along the baseline. His presence made me a bit uncomfortable and brought back memories. It was a bad vibe. There were a lot of other things that really went wrong for Rutgers, but seeing Hill on the court again made me say... “Uh oh.” It didn’t help. (Come on, it’s a 19 point blowout. How many coherent, realistic thoughts can I write about? Rutgers flat out got beat.)