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Embracing Expectations: 4 Thoughts on Rutgers 63-60 Loss to Houston

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NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Rutgers at Houston Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Well, this is going to be hard to write about. Rutgers had a chance to go to the Sweet Sixteen, played their hearts out and then broke them.

Four Thoughts.

Turning Point: Rutgers was able to build a ten point lead with under ten minutes to go. Then Houston re-inserted Dajon Jarreau, their starting point guard, best defensive player and injured player. He stabilized the rattled Cougars and started the comeback. Rutgers, however, was still throwing punches and when Houston would score, so would Rutgers. Except for the five point swing. Geo Baker threw a lob to Myles Johnson, who missed the dunk—a play they have run a thousand times. Jarreau came down and hit a three and instead of being up 10, Rutgers found themselves only up 5. It all fell apart after that.

Rebounding: While for the most part, Rutgers rebounded with Houston, when the Cougars made their comeback, Rutgers had a hard time boxing out. The last play to give the Cougars the lead was off an offensive rebound and a foul. Rutgers has always been a huge rebounding team and finding someone who could do the same was a challenge. One more box out would have been enough, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Rutgers Left It All Out on the Court: Yes, they blew a big lead. But it wasn’t for lack of trying. Rutgers did not lay an egg in this tournament. They came out and played hard and did everything they could to win. They made this game a dogfight, they just couldn’t close it out in the end. A missed three here. A turnover there. It just wasn’t enough. People are going to want to vent and lay into this team in the comments or on the message boards. Ignore them. Rutgers gave its all.

Geo Baker, Jacob Young and Myles Johnson: Now comes the long, dark offseason. All these players can come back, but will they? Geo Baker is going to go down as an all-time Rutgers player. Jacob Young was a lightening bolt in Scarlet. Myles Johnson (did you know he was an engineer?) is the definition of a student athlete. Be proud of these players. They made us proud. We got to see a little bit of the madness. Thank you, fellas.