Rutgers took care of business tonight with a solid second half, winning 75-61. Four thoughts.
The Geo and Ron Show: If you want to draw up the offense for the season, this is how you do it. Geo Baker was hot from the start scoring a quick 7 points and finishing with 19 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists. He played 35 minutes and ran the point for much of the game. He was also key in the second half, helping shut down the incredibly hot Dylan O’Hearn. Ron Harper Jr. was just as insane scoring as Geo, with 20 points and a big time 13 rebounds. Harper was also 7-10 from the free throw line. He was certainly Ron Fire using his size to get to the rim. All around, it was a good night for those two.
Dylan O’Hearn was insane in the first half: O’Hearn, the 6’4” senior was unconscious in the first half. He score 20 points overall, but in the first half made three 3 pointers. In the second, he was less effective as Rutgers put different defenders on him. He was only able to score 7 points, 4 of them from the free throw line. He was 6 of 7 from the line overall. He had the build of a power 5 players and he was not afraid of the big stage as he and Geo had a back to back three off with a little bit of trash talking on each end.
The Bench Players: Aundre Hyatt, Jaden Jones and Ralph Gonzales-Agee played well for long stretches. Jones had a stretch in the first half where he smoothly got his five points, with a lay-up and a swished three. It wasn’t a perfect night for Jones, who took an uncalled for technical foul in the second half. Hyatt was a Swiss Army Knife tonight, doing it all. He grabbed rebounds (6), cleaned up with points (8) and really played well defensively too that included blocking shots (3). He’s going to become a fan favorite. Gonzales-Agee gave Cliff Omoruyi the perfect breather as this team matched up well with him with 4 points and 2 rebounds in 13 minutes.
Rutgers Defense Got Better: In the first half, NJIT went off from three, shooting 7 of 13 from behind the line. It really kept NJIT in the game, because their shooting percentage in that half wasn’t as good as Rutgers. Rutgers played well on offense early, but could never get the stops to really pull away in the first half, actually being down 1 at the buzzer. But Rutgers locked them down in the second half, as the Highlanders only went 4 of 16 in that half. The Scarlet Knights dominated on the boards—48-30. Rutgers played well tonight, and once they cooled NJIT off, it wasn’t really a game. It would have been nice if this was a walk, but there are some things you can see that show the Knights are still gelling. But this performance was more encouraging than the first two. Overall, a solid game with a road trip to DePaul coming up on Thursday night.