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Unfinished Business: 4 Thoughts on Rutgers 79-78 OT Loss to Northwestern

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Mulcahy: Mulcahy was an absolute beast tonight. He scored 31 points with 7 assists and 7 rebounds. With the Scarlet Knights down 24, Mulcahy tried to put the team on his back. He made threes, he made floaters and he made lay-ups. The Scarlet Knights laid an egg in the first half and Mulcahy did everything he possibly could to turn it into an omelet. A great game for a player that ended in a bad loss for the team. There were so many opportunities to win late in the second half, and most of that came because of Mulcahy’s play.

Turnovers: Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. It has plagued the Scarlet Knights all season. Lazy with the ball, not being aware of surroundings and so many of them are unforced. Caleb McConnell stepping on the sideline for one. The turnovers are always more in the first half and what allows the other team to build their leads. While Rutgers is struggling to find their rhythm on offense, the other team turns them over for easy buckets the build confidence. It’s sloppy and something that should happen as much with this experienced starting line-up.

Rebounding: Rutgers came back to make the rebounding close—with Northwestern winning 36-34, but it was tough going particularly in the first half. Steve Pikiell built this program on the glass and on defense and in the first half, it was not there. Once shots started to fall in the second, Rutgers picked up the hustle, but if defense and rebounding are there all game, they aren’t giving up 40 in the first half.

Cliff Omoruyi: Cliff was a beast tonight. He was all over the rim with his dunks and even made some free throws. He finished with 22 points, but only six rebounds. He was a bad match-up for Nance and disrupted. His dunk to tie the game with 2 seconds left had the potential to go down in Rutgers lore, had they completed the comeback. Two missed tips (one in regulation and one in OT) and Rutgers wins. If Geo Baker has even a semblance of offense, Rutgers wins. A frustrating night in a frustrating season, but Cliff and Paul gave something to continue to build on.