Rutgers 94, CCNY 38: Five Observations from a dominating win
It felt more like a scrimmage, but in what was technically considered the Rutgers men's basketball team's first game of the season, the Scarlet Knights (1-0) cruised by DIII opponent CCNY by a dominating -- and sad -- scoreline of 94-38.
Here are 5 observations on the 2017-18 Rutgers basketball team through one contest.
1. Issa Thiam looks like the most improved player on the team
The sophomore from Senegal was one-dimensional a year ago. He was a spot-up shooter and nothing else. Against the Beavers on Friday night, he scored 19 points and pulled in 11 rebounds for the double-double. While he did not have a strong game shooting from distance (0-5), he made all 5 of his free throws, a big step in the right direction.
2. Teams like CCNY should not be scheduled
The Beavers are one of the worst teams that Rutgers has ever played in its history. These games offer no true benefit when a weaker Division I opponent offers an equally good opportunity to test things out and get younger guys extended minutes. It's time to phase out DII and DIII teams completely. Friday's game was sad to watch.
3. Rebounding is still a strength
While it's hard to tell how good of a rebounding team the Knights are when they play a team whose tallest player is 6'5", they took care of business and dominated the boards. The aforementioned Thiam is much better rebounder and junior guard Corey Sanders looks to have improved in that area as well.
4. Free-throw shooting needs to improve
It doesn't matter who the opponent is when you look at free throws. The line is same distance from the hoop every time. As a team, Rutgers went 16-32 from the charity stripe, including a run in the first half when the team missed five in a row. Foul shots are an area that plagued the team last season and Friday did nothing to prove that the Knights are better in that respect.
5. The team wants to play fast
Every time that Rutgers got the ball in the first half off a rebound or a turnover, the Knights went flying down the court in transition. It is clear they want to play up-tempo when given the opportunity, but the team looked sloppy in multiple instances on the fast-break and needs to clean up the turnovers.