After a memorable three games at the Big Ten Tournament, I thought it was worth taking an in-depth statistical review for the Rutgers men’s basketball team. They were far more efficient on the offensive end, were better defensively and became a dominant rebounding team in a way they were not during the Big Ten regular season. It was an impressive team effort which included many significant contributions from the core players on the roster. Here is a full statistical review of the three postseason games at Madison Square Garden, including notes throughout.
Team Statistical Review
Points - 216 (72.0 points per game)
Field Goals - 83 of 174 for 47.7%
3-Point Field Goals - 12 of 31 for 38.7%
Free Throws - 38 of 53 for 71,7%
Notes: Rutgers averaged just 57.9 points in 18 Big Ten regular season games and shot just 37.0% from the field, 27.5% from three-point range, and 68.1% from the free throw line. Their offensive production as a team in the Big Ten Tournament exceeded all of their season averages significantly. It highlights how impressive their performance truly was this past week at the Garden.
Points - 205 (68.3 points per game)
Field Goals - 64 of 155 for 41.3%
3-Point Field Goals - 22 of 73 for 30.1%
Free Throws - 55 of 72 for 76.4%
Notes: Big Ten opponents averaged 69.8 points per game during the regular season against Rutgers and shot 45.5% from the field, 35.6% from three-point range, and 72.5% from the free throw line. While Rutgers has no control on opponent free throw percentage, they held Big Ten Tournament opponents below scoring and shooting averages from the field compared to the regular season.
Rebounds - Rutgers 114 (38.0 per game) Opponents 87 (29.0 per game)
Notes: During the regular season, the Scarlet Knights averaged 34.5 boards per game, while Big Ten opponents averaged 37.2 against them. Rutgers was dominant on the boards in the Big Ten Tournament and it was major factor in their ability to have the three game run they did. It was a major reason they beat Minnesota, in which they held a +21 rebounding margin. It also kept them in the game against Purdue, as they held a +8 rebounding margin.
Offensive Rebounds - Rutgers 34 (11.3 per game) Opponents 21 (7.0 per game)
2nd Chance Points - Rutgers 41 (12.7 per game) Opponents 18 (6.0 per game)
Notes: The Scarlet Knights ability to be effective on the offensive glass and capitalize by finishing near the rim was also a major key in the run they put together at the Garden. The +23 edge in 2nd chance points was significant and surprisingly, most of that came against Purdue (20-2 advantage).
Turnovers - Rutgers 33 (11.0 per game) Opponents 29 (9.7 per game)
Notes: Rutgers averaged 1 turnover less per game than it did in the Big Ten regular season, although they struggled to force takeaways from their opponents in the Big Ten Tournament. In regular season conference play, their opponents averaged 13.2 turnovers against them.
Points Off Turnovers - Rutgers 33 (11.0 per game) Opponents 34 (11.3 per game)
Notes: Rutgers was able to equal production of its opponents in scoring off of turnovers, despite producing less opportunities to do so.
Points In The Paint - Rutgers 76 (25.3 per game) Opponents 72 (24.0 per game)
Fast Break Points - Rutgers 12 (4.0 per game) Opponents 19 (6.3 per game)
Bench Points - Rutgers 77 (25.7 per game) Opponents 49 (16.3 per game)
Notes: Geo Baker and Deshawn Freeman, primary starters during most of the regular season, came off the bench in all three Big Ten Tournament games. Only two players came off the bench and scored double figures against Rutgers in the Tournament. Minnesota’s Isaiah Washington had 18 points and Indiana’s Aljami Durham scored 10.
Interesting Stat - Rutgers led in the majority of each game they played in the Big Ten Tournament, even holding a 18:16 to 17:22 edge in minutes against Purdue.
Individual Statistical Review (per game averages)
Corey Sanders - 24.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 0.7 steals; 32 of 60 for 53.3% FG, 1 of 5 for 20% from 3-point range, 9 of 13 for 69.3% FT’s; 35.3 minutes
Notes: Corey averaged 14.2 points and shot just 36.0% from the field during the Big Ten regular season. He elevated his game and was far more efficient on the offensive end during the Tournament. At the same time, he kept his rebounding and assist totals close to the regular season (4.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists). He had an outstanding Big Ten Tournament, which we recapped here.
Geo Baker - 14.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.0 steal, 0.7 assists; 15 of 33 for 45.5% FG, 8 of 17 for 47.1% from 3-point range, 5 of 5 for 100% FT’s; 25.7 minutes
Notes: Baker averaged 9.2 points, shot 32.2% from the field, and 34.2% from three-point range during the Big Ten regular season. He struggled down the stretch in February due to the flu. After scoring just 3 points in the opening round win against Minnesota, he combined for 40 points, shooting 50% from both the field (24 of 48) and from three-point range (7 of 14). It was his coming out party on the Big Ten stage and we spoke with him about it here.
Deshawn Freeman - 9.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.0 steals, 1.0 assists; 10 of 25 for 40.0% FG; 9 of 12 for 75% FT’s; 23.7 minutes
Notes: While his numbers in the Tournament were similar to the regular season (10.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 37.6% FG), Freeman’s play against Indiana, especially in the first half, were a major reason Rutgers advanced to the Quarterfinals. He produced a 15 points, 8 rebound, 5 steal effort that was overshadowed by Corey Sanders scoring 28 points, but his performance in that victory should never be forgotten.
Mike Williams - 8.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 0.7 blocks; 8 of 18 for 44.4% FG, 1 of 4 for 25% from 3-point range; 8 of 9 for 88.8% FT’s; 26.3 minutes
Notes: Williams laid it all out on the Garden floor during these three games and improved on his Big Ten regular season averages (6.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, 33.8% FG), in which he did miss 8 games due to injury. He also tweaked his ankle before the first TV timeout of the Purdue game, but managed to gut out 25 minutes and lead the team with 8 rebounds. It was a true warrior’s exit and we captured the emotion of his career coming to close here.
Eugene Omoruyi - 7.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 0.7 steals; 10 of 19 for 52.6% FG, 2 of 4 for 50% FT’s; 23.7 minutes
Notes: Eugene was rock steady, as he averaged 7.5 points and 4.3 rebounds during Big Ten play in the regular season. He did shoot better at the Garden (46.8% FG in regular season) and produced nearly identical lines in the wins over Minnesota and Indiana (9 points in both, 7 & 6 rebounds respectively). His consistency and toughness will be a cornerstone for this program moving forward.
Issa Thiam - 4.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 0.7 steals; 4 of 6 for 66.7% FG, 2 of 3 for 66.7% from 3-point range, 3 of 4 FT’s; 32.3 minutes
Notes: Interestingly, Issa actually played the second most minutes of any Rutgers player in the Big Ten Tournament. While he didn’t produce much offensively, it wasn’t due to a lack of efficiency. He wasn’t as involved due to Corey Sanders and Geo Baker taking the majority of the shots, but he was a solid contributor due to his rebounding, steady defense and lack of mistakes (2 turnovers in 3 games). He got a ton of valuable experience this season and will have an opportunity to step up offensively next season.
Shaq Doorson - 1.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 0.7 blocks, 0.7 assists; 2 of 5 for 40.0% FG, 0 of 2 FT’s; 19.7 minutes
Notes: Shaq started all three games and while his numbers aren’t significant, don’t forget his 4 point, 4 rebound performance in the win over Minnesota. His defense has been underappreciated all season and he gave Steve Pikiell a reliable presence in the paint in this tournament.
Mamadou Doucoure - 1.7 points, 2.7 rebounds; 2 of 7 for 28.6% FG, 1 of 2 FT’s; 7 minutes
Notes: The freshman big man wasn’t much of a factor the second half of the season and while he played just 1 minute against Indiana, he did provide solid rebounding against Purdue and Minnesota, when he totaled 8 rebounds in 20 combined minutes. Having a full offseason to work with the staff this summer will be key to his development.
Candido Sa - 0 points, 1.0 rebound; 0 of 1 FG; 6.3 minutes
Notes: It was tough break for Sa to suffer a shoulder injury in the practice before the regular season finale against Illinois. He missed that game but just a few days later, he gave Rutgers a solid 12 minutes on the defensive end in the win over Indiana.