It looked like Rutgers was going to pick up right where it left off as they took on Hofstra Pride. Jacob Young got the Scarlet Knights off to a hot start, and they used defense pressure to keep Hofstra scoreless for almost ten minutes of the first half. However, in the second half, either tired legs or a Sunday malaise got the team and they had to keep Hostra at arms length. All’s well that ends well, however and Rutgers gets off to a 3-0 start with a 70-56 victory. A deep dive from Aaron is here.
Sloppy: A lot of this game was incredibly sloppy for Rutgers, especially in the second half. at one point, Hofstra was able to cut Rutgers’ 20 point lead down to ten, and if the RAC was full, you would hear concerned murmuring. They bounced back however, and were able to keep the Pride at bay. Hofstra’s second half run was mostly due to turnovers, of which Rutgers had 15. That’s got to be cleaned up.
Myles Johnson was a beast: Myles Johnson was absolutely dominant defensively, and Hofstra had no answer for him. He registered 5 blocks, including one from behind a Pride Player who angled for an easy dunk. Johnson also pulled down 9 rebounds, tied with Paul Mulcahy and Ron Harper Jr. Cliff Omoruyi may have played slightly more minutes, but Johnson’s veteran presence was key.
Jacob Young and Ron Harper Jr Continue: With Geo Baker’s absence still looming, Young and Harper continue to step up their games. Young kept the team organized and pushed the pace with 17 points. Harper Jr overcame early foul trouble to pour in 15. Harper has had quite the start to this season with 18, 30 and 17 points respectively. This is the consistency Steve Pikiell wants from him. If not for Luka Garza (and maybe even with him), Harper may be the Big Ten Player of the week. Montez Mathis also continues to impress, locking down defensively and scoring 14.
Lots to Clean Up: Like I said this was a sloppy game, and Rutgers typical Achilles’ heels have been on display early this season. They have not been good from the free throw line, or shooting the ball, today going 18-29 from the line and 4-14 from three. Rutgers is doing what it should, getting to the line and not taking an exorbitant amount of threes (since they aren’t the best shooting team), but they have to improve these numbers. Losing Caleb McConnell hurts on this end and getting Geo back should only help.
But, hey, a win’s a win. Rutgers is 3-0. Currently, they don’t have another game scheduled until December 8th against Syracuse, but keep an eye on social media because you never know when that could change.