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Unfinished Business: 4 Thoughts on Rutgers 68-65 Loss to Minnesota

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NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Minnesota Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers played an undermanned Minnesota team and came up on the short end 68-65.

Four Thoughts.

Made Shots and Missed Shots: That’s what this game came down to. Payton Willis was just unconscious the entire game scoring 32 points. He made three after three after three. Geo Baker tried to match him, scoring 25, but down the stretch, Rutgers went ice cold missing threes by Ron Harper Jr., Geo Baker and Paul Mulcahy. It wasn’t like Rutgers wasn’t defending—these shots that Willis and Luke Loewe made were pretty insane. And Rutgers got excellent looks all day. They just missed a few. Life on the road in the Big Ten.

The Final Rutgers Play: I thought Rutgers smartly got it into Ron Harper late to try and drive to the hoop for the win. But the referees in the Big Ten giveth and the refs taketh away. Harper clearly dropped his shoulder. The Minnesota player may have embellished a little bit, but he got the call he wanted. I also thought the Baker three point attempt with 11 seconds left was a good one. It just didn’t go down. The Gophers got the stop. Rutgers couldn’t.

Dean Reiber: How good has Reiber been lately? He supplanted Cliff Omoruyi, who was struggling, late in the game and was on the court at the end. He had six points and came up with a key steal to give Rutgers back the ball with twelve seconds left and down one point. Reiber’s development has been completely eye opening and shows you have to be patient with players. Reiber is a piece now.

Big Picture: Rutgers is now 5-3 in the Big Ten and missed an opportunity for another road win. They take on Maryland on Tuesday and then close out the month with two road games before the schedule gets really tough. They have to keep defending the RAC and find a few more road wins. There’s a lot of basketball left and a lot of opportunities too. This game is going to leave a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths, but there’s still a long season left.