The Scarlet Knights came to play basketball today. They destroyed the Cornhuskers at Jersey Mike’s Arena.
The Offense Is On Fire: After the first TV timeout, Rutgers woke up and flat out ran away with this game. The big number on the stat sheet will be Ron Harper Jr. (#RonFire) who scored 29 points and is averaging 26.3 points per game at the RAC (yes, yes JMA) in 3 Big Ten Games. He was an impressive 10-10 from the free throw line, and though he had 3 threes, he did not fall in love with the shot. His 15 points in the first half came from the line and cuts to the basket. Equally as impressive was Paul Mulcahy with his 10 points, career high 8 assists and 7 rebounds. Cliff Omoruyi also had ten points, though saddled with foul trouble. Geo Baker didn’t need to be the go to scorer today but tallied 5 points and six assists. Caleb McConnell continues his defensive assault on opponents, but also scored 7 points including a three. Rutgers went 10-18 from behind the arc, including 8-10 in the second half. They also only missed one free throw. Just wild.
The Bench, Wow: Rutgers did come out early on and scuffled as Nebraska tried to take to them. But coach Steve Pikiell went to the bench early. Jalen Miller and Aundre Hyatt came in and that really changed the flow. Hyatt scored where Rutgers starting five couldn’t and the Cornhuskers didn’t have an answer. Hyatt finished with 13 points. He was 2-2 from deep. Miller was his usual aggressive defensive self, but found a way to get some lay-ups. Really solid game from him. The only curious part of this game was Jaden Jones. While the heralded freshman has been struggling a bit lately, particularly on defense, he didn’t get much run in this game at all. He came in late and scored 5 points, including a three. It will be interesting to see if a game like this gets his attention. Even more fun was Aiden Terry getting in on the act, late. The walk-on, who was just put on full scholarship, was the first walk-on in the game. He pulled down a few rebound.
The Dean: Okay, this deserves it’s own thought. I was going to lump it in with the bench, but no. This will be remembered as the Dean Reiber game. Reiber came in when Omoruyi got in early foul trouble and he made his minutes count. He even hit two threes, which made the RAC (yes, yes, JMA) go insane. Reiber is starting to develop into a stretch five and a solid back-up like Coach Pikiell promised. Rutgers needed him today and he didn’t disappoint. What a fun moment.
Rolling, Rolling, Rolling; Rutgers has now won 3 straight Big Ten games, four games in a row and five of six overall. They sit at 9-5 and 3-1 in confernce. They are hot right now and it will be interesting to see how that travels. They take the show on the road for the next two games, with Penn State on the docket at 6:30 on Tuesday. Penn State is rebuilding under new head coach Micah Shrewsberry. They aren’t a slouch, though. They just beat Northwestern on the road, overcoming a ten point deficit and then gave Purdue all they could handle today. The Scarlet Knights need to keep riding this hot streak through January to have a chance at dancing. It continues this week.