Shooting, rebounding woes sink RU
Head coach Mike Rice and the Rutgers men’s basketball team understood the challenges they faced Saturday at Mississippi.
They knew the Rebels were a strong offensive rebounding team that would put up a fight in the paint.
The knowledge did not stop Ole Miss from creating the offensive rebounding gap it expected to in a 80-67 Scarlet Knights loss.
“We are going to have to remedy that in the next couple weeks to compete with some of the good teams we will face throughout the year,” Rice said.
While the Rebels only pulled down one more rebound overall, they totaled nine more on the offensive end, ending the game with a 16-7 advantage.
As expected, forward Murphy Holloway led the way for Ole Miss, tallying 17 points and 15 rebounds.
“You don’t blink against this team, and we certainly did,” Rice said. “Guys stepped up and made plays. I liked 75 percent [of the game], but the other 25 percent showed some of the weaknesses with this team, which is a touch soft.”
While the Knights entered halftime with a four-point lead, they could not keep the Rebels from going on second-half scoring stretches.
A 9-0 Ole Miss run with 7:45 remaining in the game highlighted a half in which the Rebels outscored Rutgers by 17 points.
Guard Marshall Henderson led the Rebels in the second half, putting up 12 points.
In the first half they posted a poor shooting percentage, only 35.3 percent on 12-for-34 shooting.
Despite that number, Rutgers’ halftime advantage stood at only two scores.
Sophomore guard Eli Carter ended the game 1-for-12 from the floor.
“You’re not going to win many games with one of your best scorers going 1-for-12,” Rice said. “Once the ball didn’t go in for him, he started to chase a little bit and not let the offense and his teammates help him out to get even better shots.”
As is typically the case for the Knights, guards led the way in terms of scoring.
Sophomores Myles Mack and Eli Carter scored 15 and 10 points, respectively, while senior wing Dane Miller scored a season-high 14 points on a perfect 7-for-7 shooting performance.
Shot selection was the only thing that discouraged Rice, who thought the team took too many outside jump shots.
“That’s settling,” Rice said. “Especially since they will allow you to attack since they are out in the pressing lanes a little bit, so you can get to the lane … and I thought even our drives were immature.”
But what Rutgers saw in production from its starters, it lacked in support from its bench, thanks in part to foul trouble.
Sophomore forward Kadeem Jack and sophomore wing Malick Kone both fouled out of the game, despite playing only eight and 15 minutes, respectively. The two combined for seven points and eight rebounds.
Rutgers’ bench scored a total of 14 points, while Ole Miss guard LaDarius White — also off the bench — scored 13 points on his own.
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