Rutgers starts off the 2020-21 season with a 86-63 victory over Sacred Heart. Four thoughts.
Basketball is back!: A black hole could have opened up under the court after the game tonight (hello 2020) and I still would have started with this. It’s been almost 300 days since the last basketball game of the season, so here’s where we are. It felt good to see the boys back on the court. It was time for the best team in a long, long time at the Rutgers to get back out there and they were ready to play.
How hurt is Geo Baker? Okay, this is going to be the big question coming out of this game. By the time I hit publish it might be answered, but seeing Geo on crutches can’t bring long term optimism to anyone. However, there are only 4 out of conference games on the schedule and a lot of time off after Sunday, so it gives Geo a long time to heal as long as this is not a disastrous injury. Rutgers can survive the out of conference without him, but they can’t survive the season. After the game, Steve Pikiell said that Geo had a “bad ankle sprain.” Hopefully we will know more after Thanksgiving.
Cliff Omoruyi Shows Up: It surprised everyone to see Omoruyi in the starting line-up, but he proved he belonged. Cliff a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds in his first collegiate game ever. He was bouncy, long and he started off the game with 5 straight boards. And then, he was able to receive every pass from the guards that was near the rim and slam it with authority. There was a highlight reel dunk that from near the free throw line where I was extremely excited to see the replay.
Ron Harper Jr and Paul Mulcahy: If Geo was the question, Ron and Paul were the answer tonight. Ron paced the Scarlet Knights with 18 points, while Paul had 15 and 7 assists. Both played like sturdy veterans, making sure there was no letdown. There is a lot of depth on this team—Montez Mathis had 17 points—so one didn’t have to worry about Geo tonight. But these two were the story of the game.
Rutgers is 1-0. On to Friday.