Rutgers suffers worst home loss in program history in 107-57 drubbing against No. 22 Purdue
The last time the Rutgers men’s basketball team took the floor at the Rutgers Athletic Center, it broke a 10-year old record for the worst loss on its home court with a humiliating 34 point defeat to Nebraska on Jan. 9.
It took the Scarlet Knights just over a week to shatter the record once again.
The Knights were completely obliterated by No. 22 Purdue Monday night, dropping their sixth straight game in an embarrassing 107-57 rout. The 50-point loss is the worst home defeat in program history.
They continue winless in the Big Ten — losing five straight by 20 points or more — after allowing their opponents to reach triple-digits for the first time since an 101-69 loss to Memphis in 2013.
Head coach Eddie Jordan was quick to praise the opposition following the game.
“Matt Painter’s done a great job with that team,” Jordan said in his opening statement. “He’s got a great scheme, good size inside, on the perimeter, they’re disciplined, they run their offense and they’re going to go places. So my hat’s off to how they play.”
Rutgers (6-13, 0-6) opened the game in promising fashion. After winning the opening tip — an anomaly for the Knights this season — senior center Greg Lewis hit a 15-foot jumper to open the scoring.
That would be the last time the Knights would lead.
The second half of the contest was played simply because it had to be, because the winner of the game was determined well before the halftime horn blew.
Purdue (16-3, 4-2) led by as much as 32 with 1:28 remaining in the opening half, and led by double-digits since the 14:30 mark of the first half.
The Boilermakers took advantage of their strengths and did what they pleased against a depleted Rutgers team that continued to play with just seven scholarship players, as freshman forward Jonathan Laurent remains sidelined with a concussion sustained against Wisconsin.
"We really wanted to establish a low-post presence," said Purdue head coach Matt Painter. "We wanted to make an effort to establish the glass."
Entering the game with more players taller than 6-foot-4 (10) than Rutgers had available, Purdue owned the paint and controlled the glass. The Boilermakers finished the game with more offensive rebounds (27) than Rutgers had on either end (23) as they appeared to grab every miss.
“It was rough,” said sophomore forward D.J. Foreman on the Knights display on the boards. “You’re boxing out one person and another giant coming in … we were boxing out, but sometimes a box out may not be enough. We may have to push them out of bounds and that’s all we can do because we’re limited with height.”
Purdue’s depth in height is a big reason its bench has outscored opponents by an average of 20.2 points per game this season and Monday was no exception to the rule as the Boilermakers bench outscored the starters. This was partly due to the even distribution of minutes. Eleven players got double-digit minutes for Purdue, with none playing more than 21 minutes.
Rutgers was unable to get it going on offense after the opening basket, missing 11 of its next 13 shots following the Lewis jumper. The Knights hit their last four attempts to close out the initial half, but still shot 39 percent from the field in the first half and didn’t get much better in the second, finishing the game with a 38 percent clip.
“We could’ve controlled the game a bit more, have a different tone to the game,” Jordan said. “We missed lay ups, we missed some open shots, they got some cuts and easy baskets at the rim and they just kept going from there.”
Following the game, Jordan confirmed what had been speculated for some time — the Knights will remain shorthanded for the rest of the season.
While stating that Laurent may be cleared to play in time for his team’s matchup with No. 9 Iowa Thursday, the third year head coach confirmed that junior college transfer Deshawn Freeman (knee), Ibrahima Diallo (foot) and Shaquille Doorson (foot) are all out for the year.
The lone bright spots for Rutgers on an incredibly bleak night were Foreman, who scored 13 points on 4-for-6 shooting despite fouling out late, and Corey Sanders. The freshman guard tied his career-high of 23 points after making 10 of his career-high 20 shots.
Sanders and the Knights will have little time to sulk in yet another blowout loss as they host No. 9 Iowa Thursday night.
Appeared to be headed to another difficult game with no light at the end of the tunnel in sight, the Lakeland, Florida, native is not concerned with the recent results. He came to Piscataway to help Rutgers grow and he believes it will, no matter how slowly.
“I’m good,” Sanders said when asked how his morale is after the loss. “I just know we’re working. I came here to help build a program and turn it around and it’s not going to happen overnight. It’s not going to happen over one year, especially not when you got missing players. I just keep working for me and my teammates, play hard for my coaches and my teammates. That’s all I could do.”