Rutgers got run out of the building tonight. They lost to Purdue, 89-54. A disaster, where Rutgers really didn’t show much toughness and slumped their shoulders. The worst loss of the Steve Pikiell era.
Not a good look at all.
Originally, I was going to take a look at the first half of the season if this game was a blowout, but this one was just too ugly. It’s hard even for me to be positive after this one.
So, take a deep breath and away we go.
Steve Pikiell’s Recruiting Miss: We are all very excited about next year’s potential with Paul Mulcahy and Jacob Young added scoring and point guard punch to the Scarlet Knights. But part of the reason Rutgers is struggling so much is because of a miss early in Steve Pikiell’s tenure. It probably set the rebuild back a year. It came down to Rutgers and Georgia Tech for Jose Alvarado and Rutgers lost him at the last minute. Had Alvarado been on this team, there’d be another starting guard who had at least a year’s experience and likely put Geo Baker back in the shooting guard spot where he belonged. But you have to recover from that.
Purdue Took Away Rutgers First Option and They Didn’t Adjust: It was clear from the start, Rutgers wanted to feed Shaq Carter and Myles Johnson for interior buckets. But the Boilermakers double teamed the heck out of both players any time they touched the ball and the team panicked. They were unable to work the offense again to try and find better shots. It lead to a ton of turnovers, which really burned the Scarlet Knights and turned the game into a dunk fest and three point shooting contest for Purdue. They panicked and it led to turnover after turnover.
This is not a vintage Steve Pikiell defense: In Rutgers previous two season, the Scarlet Knights and Pikiell could count on Corey Sanders, Deshawn Freeman and Mike Williams playing very good defense. With Eugene Omoruyi down, the Scarlet Knights are not a good defensive team and Purdue—one of the best offenses in the country—just went off. In the second half, again, Purdue got whatever they wanted. And they were able to turn it into an ugly, ugly blowout.
Montez Mathis Had a Half: Rutgers was at least within ten in the first half, mostly because of Montez Mathis. Since conference season restarted, Mathis has kicked it into another gear. He’s been able to get to the rim at will, which has also opened up the outside shot for him. He needs help though and good defense from the rest of the team would go a long way. There is such a small margin of error as this team slowly grows up, that it needs everything to go right.
This was a brutal one. Rutgers needs to regroup quickly because Friday’s game against Northwestern looms huge.