Season over. The Scarlet Knight drop an absolute heartbreaker—as it goes in March—as Notre Dame put an offensive rebound in with 1.9 seconds left.
No One Wants to Hear This: That was a great basketball game. Both teams threw haymakers. Both teams made huge mistakes. Rutgers came up one stop short. Geo Baker missed a fadeaway at the buzzer in regulation. Paul Mulcahy and Ron Harper Jr. hit huge threes in both overtimes. Notre Dame just had one last punch. Disappointing. Just like last year this is going to take a long time to get over. Not how you wanted this crew to go out.
Caleb McConnell: McConnell, if this is his last game in a Rutgers uniform, was so, so good. He had 18 points in the first half and finished with 23. He had 11 rebounds. He had a block, a steal and two assists. It was the kind of complete game you hope to see out of the defensive player of the year. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. But if this is how he goes out, it is an impressive way to go out.
The Defense Just Wasn’t There: For all Steve Pikiell preaches, the defense just wasn’t on tonight. Cliff Omoruyi could not stop the mobile big man in Paul Atkinson Jr. The big guy got to the rim at will and scored 26 points, including the game winner. He was the difference. Ugh. It’s so hard to write about. The five out offense was difficult for Rutgers to defend because they could not help for fear of losing a three point shooter. Notre Dame got the rim at will and Rutgers had no answer. It’s March. It happens.
Culture Changers: The entire starting squad was fantastic on offense. Ron had 22. Geo Baker took over in the second half and had 19 points. These players are going to go down in Rutgers lore as the ones who turned it around. They are hurting right now. They didn’t want to go out this way, but it’s how it goes in March. Be thankful for these players and what they’ve given us. This was a disappointing game, but not a disappointing era. There are a lot of offseason questions that we will look at over the coming weeks, but for now... we mourn.