The Rutgers men’s basketball played the second of its four game trip in Spain on Saturday and won in convincing fashion, defeating CCBI Academy by the score of 86-47. The game was called after three quarters due to slippery conditions on the court, as it was the second hottest recorded day in the history of Valencia. Here are some takeaways on the win.
- West Virginia beat the same team by over 60 points the day before, which Rutgers might have come close to matching had the game played for the duration of regulation.
- Jacob Young led the way with an impressive performance, scoring a team high 19 points on 7 of 8 shooting from the field, including 2 of 3 from three-point range. He added 3 steals and 2 rebounds in just over 13 minutes of action. He came to Rutgers with a reputation with the ability to provide instant offense and he did just that on Saturday. Young has the potential to give the Rutgers offense a gear they have been missing with his ability to score near the rim and from behind the arc.
- Ron Harper Jr. had another strong game, scoring 18 points on 5 of 11 from the floor, including 3 of 7 from deep. He also had a +/- of 26, the best on the team in this contest. The only issue was that he fouled out for the second consecutive game. Still, he is showing his growth offensively on this trip and is primed for a huge sophomore campaign.
- Peter Kiss also had a second straight solid shooting night, making 4 of 5 shots for 11 points. That’s his strength and it’s good to see him finding a good rhythm on this tour.
- Myles Johnson and Shaq Carter dominated inside against the Spaniards. Johnson had 8 points on 4 of 6 shooting, as well as 10 boards, 4 steals and 3 assists. Carter added 9 points and 7 rebounds. They are providing a strong inside presence through two games, which is exactly what Rutgers needs from them next season. Granted, the level of competition doesn’t appear to be close to a Big Ten level, but it’s encouraging they are dominating nonetheless.
- A positive is that Rutgers improved in fouls given, only getting whistled for 13, were 14 of 19 from the free throw line for 74%, and committed just 8 turnovers. All are major improvements from the first game in Madrid three days ago.
- Rutgers had 24 assists on 32 made field goals, so that’s a great sign this team is sharing the basketball well, which Pikiell confirmed in a quote at the end of this story.
- Rutgers scored 33 points off of turnovers and a 25-2 edge in fast break points so they were running quite a bit and dominating while doing so, which is encouraging. They also held a +26 advantage with points in the paint.
- Shooting continues to be improved, as the team shot 32 of 59 from the floor for 54% and were a serviceable 8 of 24 from three-point range for 33%.
- Paul Mulcahy failed to score again, but continues to add an element as a key distributor, dishing out a team high 5 assists in just 14 minutes of action.
- Montez Mathis wasn’t too involved scoring wise (4 points on 2 of 3 shooting), but contributed in other ways. He grabbed 7 rebounds and dished out 4 assists to just 1 turnover.
Rutgers takes on the Mataro All-Stars in Barcelona on Monday at 2:30 p.m. in the third game of the trip. The next opponent should pose the biggest challenge of anyone they play in Spain. The Scarlet Knights have taken care of business so far and will look to continue doing so the last week of the trip.
Steve Pikiell Quotes
“We had to cut the game a little bit short, but we did a lot of good things,” said head coach Steve Pikiell. “We were much improved in terms of our turnovers, shooting the ball, and getting to the rim. We have a lot of unique pieces. Everyone passed up a shot to get us a better shot.”
“We had good efforts,” said Pikiell. “A lot of guys contributed and that was a good thing to see.”
“We’re getting what I thought out of the trip,” said Pikiell. “We’re trying a lot of different lineups and doing lot of mix-and-match. Our size is really good. A lot of guys made threes tonight, which was good to see. It’s been fun. I’m looking forward to a couple more in Barcelona and having a better feel for the team after those two games.”
“The tour and the country have just been spectacular,” added Pikiell. “There are great people here, including Rutgers people. We’ve encountered many alums, met some a breakfast this morning, so it’s been exciting to spread the word.”