George Washington overmatches Rutgers in 83-49 shellacking
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Entering Saturday’s matchup with George Washington, the Rutgers men’s basketball team knew it needed its best performance of the season to upset a team receiving votes in the latest AP poll.
Head coach Eddie Jordan hoped the third time he faced the Colonials would be the charm after losing to them in his first two seasons at the helm of his alma mater.
But a slow start combined with a dominant performance from the home side spoiled Jordan’s return to the city he grew up in as George Washington (9-1) smothered the Scarlet Knights (4-6) in a brutal 83-49 beating.
“(George Washington) is a good team,” Jordan said. “Athletic, they have a great scheme, they’re disciplined, they’re big … they’re good 1 through 8, for me.”
One play in particular summarized the kind of night the Knights had in the nation's capital.
With 15:54 remaining in the first half, senior center Greg Lewis went up for a rebound on the defensive end and nearly tipped in the missed George Washington shot.
After collecting the rebound, senior guard Bishop Daniels ran the length of the floor and attacked the paint, shooting a layup that bounced out of bounds off the underside of the backboard.
Rutgers was outplayed by its opponent. Knowing that, there is only one thing to do once the bus stops in Piscataway.
“We know what we did wrong, we know what we need to get better at,” Daniels said. “We just need to get back in the gym and get better.”
Rutgers opened the game by turning the ball over on the first possession and it went downhill from there.
Five minutes into the contest, the Knights were down, 7-0. By the 12-minute mark of the first half, the Knights were trailing by 14 in a 16-2 deficit after hitting one of their first 13 shots.
The 7.7-percent clip out of the gate improved slowly as the half went on. Rutgers finished 10 for 30 (33.3%) in the opening 20 minutes, closing out the half on a 7-2 run.
But the damage was already done and the Knights were unable to recover.
Taking no responsibility away from his team’s weak play, Jordan attributed part of the slow start on offense to the brand of defense played by the Colonials.
“Their defense is unique,” Jordan said. “They play a 1-3-1 zone that allows you to do some things but then they clamp you down. It’s almost like a spiderweb — it looks pretty and you want to go in there and then all of a sudden, you see big people and they shut down the passing lanes and we didn’t have enough talent to get it done, to beat them tonight.”
Rutgers' woes on both ends of the court continued in the second half. The Knights were outscored, 37-25, in the latter 20 minutes of the game.
With junior forward Deshawn Freeman still out due to a sore knee, Rutgers again was forced to play small ball for a majority of the game.
With just three big men available, the Knights weren’t able to play in the paint effectively, which in turn made it difficult to get open shots in the perimeter.
It was an issue demonstrated in the stats, as they made just five shots on 19 attempts from downtown.
To Jordan, however, players who can’t be on the floor should not be a focal point.
“We can’t even think about having the guys we don’t have,” he said. “Guys that we have should be able to get things done.”
In-state rival Monmouth, which has taken the college basketball world by storm with upsets over then-No. 17 Notre Dame and UCLA where all the attention was on its bench, visits the Louis Brown Athletic Center next Sunday, Dec. 20.
Until then, Rutgers’ players will have one thought in their head as they prepare to host the Hawks.
“We gotta be better. That’s just what it is,” Daniels said. “As basketball players, we gotta be better. As a team, we gotta do better … overall, it falls on us and what we got to do.”
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