Jersey Mike’s Arena has created one of the best home-court advantages in the nation.
On Thursday night, the crowd let the home-town team hear it during an abysmal offensive showing against Michigan.
The Scarlet Knights dropped their fourth game in five tries, scoring just 45 points on their home floor against the Wolverines. Rutgers shot 38.3% from the field and went 5-for-16 from the free throw line. The Scarlet Knights were also 4-for-16 on layups and turned the ball over 13 times, compared to just 11 assists.
After a brief panic pause following a win over Wisconsin, fans wake up on Friday morning asking one question — what’s next?
The Scarlet Knights rank near the bottom of many shooting categories in the Big Ten. They currently sit 11th in field goal percentage (43%) and ninth in three-point shooting (32.2%). Rutgers also ranks 10th in points per game (68.4).
When Ron Harper Jr. and Geo Baker moved on after last season, Rutgers entered this year with many question marks. Early on, some were answered but it is clear that there are still many more to figure out.
Yes, Rutgers has been an elite defensive team but at times, this has made some forget that the offense is extremely inconsistent. Cliff Omoruyi leads the team with 13.3 points per game. He uses his athleticism in many ways and is among the nation’s leaders in dunks for the second-consecutive year.
Cam Spencer (12.6ppg) is the only other Scarlet Knight averaging double-digits. Paul Mulcahy is averaging 5.2 assists but his scoring has been mediocre, aside from a couple strong performances late. As for Caleb McConnell, he aspires to be the National Defensive Player of the Year but is shooting 39.8% from the field and 21.8% from deep.
Following the loss on Friday, head coach Steve Pikiell spoke to the fans.
“Come back, stay with Rutgers basketball,” Pikiell said following the loss. “You’ve been great all year and we want to make sure they continue to be great.”
Jersey Mike’s Arena will continue to support its Scarlet Knights and make it difficult for road teams coming in. Rutgers continues to be an NCAA Tournament hopeful and one bump in the road will not make fans jump ship. Nonetheless, this should be a wake-up call for Pikiell and the team with the postseason just around the corner.