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Enjoying the Build: 4 Thoughts on Penn State Round 2

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at Rutgers Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers rallied and the building rocked, but they fell in heartbreaking fashion, 66-65. Here are 4 thoughts.

Rutgers Can Handle Adversity But Not Prosperity: I thought there was a decent chance that Rutgers would roll over and allow the rest of the season to fall away after the first Iowa game. They didn’t and won two great games vs. Minnesota and on the road against Iowa. But riding high, Rutgers came out flat against Penn State and allowed the opposition to build a huge lead. But, again, faced with adversity, Rutgers dug deep and did almost everything they could to get back in the game and even had the ball and a chance to win at the buzzer.

The Rutgers Players Are Building a Callus: I am a firm believer in two things, sportwise: Championship teams seem to have karma and teams that are becoming good teams have to face heartbreak. Rutgers is becoming a leader in heartbreak this season. They are losing in heartbreaking fashion, where it looked like Geo Baker was even in tears after the buzzer sounded. But they need this. They need to go through this feeling so they can learn to never want to go through it again. This is, as painful as it sounds, another step in the building process. But the fans need to stick with this. The RAC really rocked in the second half, probably the loudest I’ve heard it in 10 years.

Eugene Omoruyi Was Great, Baker Wasn’t as Good: Omoruyi had the kind of game you want from him. He dominated the post and scored 23 points. He got to the free throw line. In the second half, he got some amazing help from Ron Harper, Jr.—who scored 12. But without that third scorer, it wasn’t meant to be tonight. Geo Baker was never able to get the ball to go in the hole and he couldn’t get to the free throw line. He still managed to control tempo, but when he’s not scoring, it really hurts. They will need him and the entire team on Sunday against Indiana.

Thank you, Shaquille Doorson: What a warrior. Aaron put it best, but I wanted to thank him here as well. He left everything on the court. He played fantastic defense. He rebounded. And he’s been a great ambassador to Rutgers.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go lick my wounds.