Moore, Jack carry RU with clutch shots
The Rutgers men’s basketball team shot a dismal 65 percent from the foul line last night against Yale at the Louis Brown Athletic Center.
Thankfully for Kadeem Jack, he had no idea.
The junior forward sank two foul shots with 14.6 seconds remaining to down the Bulldogs, 72-71, after the Scarlet Knights (2-1) trailed for most of the second half.
“I had to put those behind me because if I thought about it, I would have been lagging and probably would have missed those two,” said Jack, who missed his previous four attempts from the charity strike before the game-clinching foul shots.
But with Rutgers down as many as 9 points in the second half, it took a 3-pointer from junior forward J.J. Moore to finally give the Knights their first lead since 2:17 remaining in the first half.
Junior guard Jerome Seagears stole the ball from Yale (1-2) and handed it to Moore while Seagears was still on the ground. Moore, who made his first 3-pointer of the game just before, gave the Knights a 70-69 lead with 30 seconds remaining.
“I just felt win,” Moore said. “A lot of coaches go for the 2 to just try and get the momentum up, but I just felt like going for the win and I took my chances and it ended up going in.”
Yale guard Armani Cotton made two free throws on the Bulldogs’ next possession to give Yale a 71-70 lead with 26 seconds remaining, but Jack’s two attempts were the ones to deliver a victory.
Jack had another impressive offensive outing for Rutgers, as the Queens native led the Knights with 18 points, including 11 in the second half.
Junior guard Myles Mack chipped in 17 points. And junior forward Malick Kone’s 12 second-half points were a crucial boost off the bench for a team that struggled with Yale’s half-court offense for the majority of the game.
“They executed,” said head coach Eddie Jordan. “They moved, they used the clock. I was disappointed in the way we came out with very low energy.”
Rutgers failed in that regard, especially in the first half, as the Knights shot just 39 percent from the field and looked sluggish throughout the first period.
Yale, meanwhile, played effective half-court offense in the first half, shooting 53 percent from the field.
Guard Jesse Pritchard pinched in three 3-pointers for the Bulldogs, who were 5-for-10 from the 3-point line in the first half.
With Rutgers’ size advantage, Jordan knew the Bulldogs would need to score from outside.
Yale started the game with a 2-3 zone, but Rutgers was able to penetrate easily thanks to its size.
Moore and Judge combined for 17 of Rutgers’ 34 first-half points.
Yale outplayed Rutgers for the first 38 minutes, but clutch plays from veterans allowed the Knights to remain undefeated inside the RAC’s confines this year.
Though as the season continues, Jack knows those opportunities for comeback victories will diminish.
“It does a lot for our psyche, knowing we can actually come back like that,” Jack said. “But we have to realize with better teams, they’re going to pull that win out, so we have to get back in the gym and keep working.”