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"Knight Writers"

#11 Tennessee Takes Down #17 Rutgers

By Ayah Houshieh

Rutgers women’s basketball suffered a tough loss against #11 ranked University of Tennessee today.  The Scarlet Knights got off to a hot start when center Rachel Hollivay scored the first basket of the afternoon, and they led the Lady Volunteers most of the game up until the last few minutes.

In the first half, Tennessee did not have much luck in scoring baskets with many of their shots bouncing in and out of the basket. It was a tight game most of the evening with Rutgers leading by three points at the end of the first half.

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Sophomore Tyler Scaife led the way with 22 points, but Rutgers couldn’t get the job done at home against Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Scarletknights.com)

There was no shortage of foul calls during this game.  The officials were not slow with the whistle during the game including a play where a Tennessee player seemingly fell over with Laney being called for it.

Tennessee came back in hard at the start of the second half, out-rebounding Rutgers.  Rebounds were a big story all game long, as the Scarlet Knights couldn’t come out of the game with the edge as they have so often this season  Tennessee out-rebounded Rutgers 54-42 and 27-13 in the second half.

This game certainly was one to highlight sophomore Tyler Scaife’s athleticism.  With 22 points on the game, she led all scorers in the game. Unfortunately for Scaife and the Knights, no one else came close to matching her production.

The game really came down to fouls at the very end when Rutgers could not keep possession of the ball.  A small window of opportunity to close the deficit with five minutes left in regulation time was not met by Rutgers as they couldn’t score in the final minutes.

Tennessee played a man-to-man defense until switching to zone and closing in on a 16-2 run as Rutgers missed ten out of their last eleven shots.  Scaife partners up with Kahleah Copper and Betnijah Laney to score a combined 11 points.  Laney evidently was experiencing some effect from a thumb injury in the first half.

Much of the points lost were due to lack of rebounding. “We stopped rebounding. We just lost focus,” Coach Vivian Stringer said about Tennessee out rebounding Rutgers in the game. “We as a team need to do a much better job. We will be rebounding the next game, I can guarantee that because that’s where the game is lost.”

Stringer says this loss was more devastating than their 96-93 double-overtime loss to #6 North Carolina.

“This one personally hurt more. “This one is not sitting well with me,” Stringer said. “We weren’t clicking on even two cylinders, or even three cylinders and that’s disappointing that this would happen in this game on this particular stage. Compared to North Carolina, this one bothers me a lot more.”

C. Vivian Stringer and the Scarlet Knights face off next against Iona on December 20th.  Tip off is at at 2 p.m. eastern standard time, make sure you tune into that game on 88.7 WRSU-FM, or catch the game at radio.rutgers.edu.

Rutgers Skims Past New Hampshire

By Lea Ginefra

After a tough loss to in-state rival Seton Hall on Saturday, the Rutgers men’s basketball team managed to finish with a 4-point victory over the University of New Hampshire last night at the RAC.

With a current season record of 5-2 coming into the game, the UNH Wildcats have lost all three of their last encounters to the Scarlet Knights. Despite this fact, they came to the RAC hoping to continue their 4-game winning streak. The Wildcats also had some edge with a 75% free throw percentage this season.

Through out the night, the sloppy play from both teams kept fans wondering who would actually take the win. With the biggest lead spanning to only 9 points by Rutgers, the possessions were frantic, and back-and-forth.

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Myles Mack led Rutgers to a win against UNH. (Photo Credit: Jim O’Connor-USA TODAY)

If not for the help of Rutgers senior point guard and co-captain, Myles Mack, finishing with 1/3 of the team’s points, there’s no way the outcome would have been what it was. His leadership ability shined through when it was necessary, driving through the paint and hitting quick jumpers. Defensively, Mack’s game was pretty strong as well, finishing with 7 defensive rebounds. He has proved to play a strong role offensively, regardless of his team’s play.

In the postgame press conference, Head Coach Eddie Jordan was more than happy to praise Mack on his performance. He said, “He does so many things for us. He keeps us organized, he scores when we need him, he makes free throws, and he’s defending his butt off.” Coach Jordan goes on to say how Mack’s defense in underrated, but definitely not going unnoticed.

Unlike Mack, other senior co-captain Kadeem Jack had a bit of a tough game in terms of his offese. He went 3 for 9 with 2 free throws, but only managed to score all of his field goals in the first half.  And although Jack leads the league in offensive rebounds, he only had one the entire game. The forward also contributed 9 defensive rebounds, seven of the teams 15 turnovers, and four blocks.

New Hampshire’s freshman forward Tanner Leissner lets offense of the wildcats with a total of 15 points. Sophomore guard Daniel Dion also chipped in 13 points.

Now that Rutgers successfully broke the winning streak of UNH, they face their next challenge against Manhattan this Sunday at Madison Square Garden. Tipoff is at 12 p.m.

Rutgers to Face North Carolina in Quick Lane Bowl

By Lance Glinn

Leading up to Sunday December 7th, the day the bowl games were going to be announced, the Rutgers football team along with their fans, held their collective breath in hopes that the Scarlet Knights would not be the one Big Ten team snubbed from a bowl game. Earlier in the week, the Big Ten Conference released a statement to all eligible bowl teams saying that one may be left out of a bowl due to the number of bowl spots available and the number of bowl games to fill. Immediately, Rutgers was one of the teams on the hot seat, and needed help to feel their spot was secure.

quick lane bowlThe Scarlet Knights received that sense of security with the help of an SEC team that Rutgers has never played before. When Mississippi State propelled past Michigan State and into the Orange Bowl, all sense of normalcy was restored, and for the 9th time in 10 seasons, Rutgers was going bowling.

Reports and predictions ran rampant throughout the prior weeks, with the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl and the Quick Lane Bowl emerging as the two most likely destinations for the Scarlet Knights. When the official result was announced, Rutgers was headed to Detroit, Michigan to face the North Carolina Tar heels in the Quick Lane Bowl on December 26th.

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Will Gary Nova be able to end his collegiate career on a high note? (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Playing in the Coastal Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference, North Carolina finished 6-6 with impressive wins coming against in – state rival Duke, and ACC runner up Georgia Tech. A weak defensive team giving up 39 points per game, the Tar Heels rely on superb play from dual – threat quarterback Marquise Williams who leads the team in both passing and rushing. For Rutgers, the offense led by Gary Nova, needs to build off the historic comeback win against Maryland and continue to score touchdowns when given the opportunity, not field goals, especially against a North Carolina team averaging 35 points per game. The defensive front seven of Rutgers needs to contain Williams within the pocket and force him to transform into a pocket passer.

The Quick Lane Bowl has all the makings of a shootout with both teams having high – octane offenses and mediocre defenses. As both teams struggle to run the ball, whichever team leads in rushing at the end of the game should have the advantage on the scoreboard. Due to the recently formed two–headed monster at running back for Rutgers in Josh Hicks and Robert Martin, the Scarlet Knights will come out victorious in a tight contest, 41-38.

Rutgers has a chance to finish the season strong with an impressive win against an ACC foe. Coverage for the game will start at 3 PM on December 26th, and can be heard on WRSU 88.7 FM and radio.rutgers.edu.

It’s Different Being B1G

By Gabe Sustick

The first regular season in the Big Ten Conference is in the books for Rutgers, and it brought some great moments along the way, but it’s clear that there are still some growing pains for the program to work through.

The Scarlet Knights’ first game of the season began on the west coast against Washington State.  It was a high scoring affair as Rutgers escaped with a 41-38 victory thanks Paul James’ 173 yard 3 touchdown performance.  It was Gary Nova’s first game with new offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgen, having two touchdowns and an interception.  Leonte Carroo also had a good day with 151 yards and a touchdown.   The Knights also saw a large hole in their secondary made by quarterback Connor Halliday who had 533 yards in the air, none the less, a great first win for Rutgers.

Week two brought a feisty Howard team in the first home game against Rutgers, eventually leading to a 38-25 win.  This game once again highlighted by Gary Nova who had 282 yards and four touchdowns, while Paul James added one rushing and two receiving touchdowns.  A good sign that Nova was getting comfortable with the new offense with much tougher teams to come.

The Big Ten debut came for the Scarlet Knights against Penn State at night in High Point Solutions Stadium.  The feeling there was electric as the noise from the crowd never seemed to stop, this was the Big Ten atmosphere Rutgers was looking for.  It was a tough game for Rutgers as Nova gave up five interceptions in the game as the rest of the offense struggled as well.  The defense did everything they could to keep Rutgers in it, but a late game-winning touchdown by PSU quarterback Christian Hackenberg to make it 13-10 brought a hush to the Rutgers crowd.  It was a disappointing game for the Scarlet Knights, the chance of getting that first Big Ten win and going 3-0 on the season became a distant dream.

An away game against a tough Navy team helped the Scarlet Knights get back on track with a 31-24 victory.  It was a nice bounce back, but it didn’t come without the loss of Rutgers running back Paul James to an ACL injury.  This would not be the first time Rutgers has been without James in the backfield, but it put into question how the Knights would fare with the running game for the rest of the season.

A dominant performance for the Rutgers in a 31-6 win against Tulane led them to a 4-1 record.  Another showing by Nova who had four touchdowns and one interception in the game, three of those touchdowns going to Carroo with 140 yards as well.  In this game, Nova became the all-time leader in passing touchdowns in school history passing Mike Teel.

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It was quite a celebration when the Scarlet Knights knocked off Michigan for their firs-ever Big Ten win. (Photo Credit: John Munson | NJ Advance Media)

The yearly blackout game was the scene of Rutgers next Big Ten matchup against Michigan, with possibly even more energy than the Penn State game.  It was another back-and-forth battle for the Scarlet Knights through the entire game, forcing the memories of Penn State game out of the fan’s heads.  Nova shined in the game with a career-high 404 yards and three touchdowns, along with an amazing blocked field goal by Kemoko Turray, bringing the first Big Ten win to Piscataway.  A stunning scene ensued as the students swarmed the field to celebrate the victory. There will be criticism of the team Rutgers played, but history was made and it should be celebrated.

The euphoria of the win did not last long as Rutgers was dealt a crushing blow in its first game at the Horseshoe losing 56-17 to Ohio State.  The first game where Rutgers would begin to see some of the growing pains that come with joining the Big Ten.  The defense looked baffled by the dual-threat quarterback J.T. Barrett, and the offense struggled against Ohio State’s stout defense.  Don’t forget that it is Ohio State who was playing really great football at that point in the season, but there is always a lesson to learn.  Rutgers needs to get bigger, that will come with time, but it needs to happen with the new change in conference.

With Nebraska up next, the Scarlet Knights fared better than against Ohio State, yet still fell 42-24.  Another game where Rutgers’ defense was put into question allowing Ameer Abdullah’s 341 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns.  Once again Rutgers facing bigger players than they are accustomed to and the running game not producing since the Paul James injury.  Both this game and the one at Ohio State gave Rutgers a look at Big Ten crowds playing in front of over 90,000 in Nebraska, and 100,000 in Columbus.

Then came the infamous homecoming game against Wisconsin, getting blanked 37-0 for their third loss in a row.  A cold and rainy day added to the pain Rutgers fans had while watching their team falter on both sides of the ball.  The Scarlet Knights, whose defensive line was praised early on in the season, was unable to contain the running game of Heisman hopeful Melvin Gordon who ran for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns.

After a tough losing skid, the Scarlet Knights were able to regain some ground beating Indiana 45-23 to become bowl eligible.  This game was a tale of two halves for Rutgers as they came out in the second half to score five touchdowns.  A game where Rutgers also saw some production from their young running backs in Josh Hicks and Robert Martin, both combining for four touchdowns on the day.

Heading to East Lansing the next week did not help Rutgers, who go trounced by Michigan State 45-3.  Rutgers did not stand a chance against this team, they were outsized and could not make tackles in the open field.  Another time where entering a new conference showed the difficulties teams have to deal with.

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RU grabbed its seventh and final regular season win in comeback fashion against fellow Big Ten newcomer Maryland. (Photo Credit: Nick Wass/Associated Press)

It all came down to a game against Maryland, the other team to join the Big Ten this year.  This game was the difference between a 6-6 and a 7-5 season.  It was also a game between the little brothers of the Big Ten, a game to prove who was better in the eyes of the big brothers.  It did not look good for the Scarlet Knights, looking flat on defense and the offense struggling as well.  After going into the half down 35-17 it looked like the games against Ohio State, Michigan State, and Wisconsin, but the first drive of the game for Rutgers showed that this was different.  A 71 yard punt return by Janarion Grant gave the Scarlet Knights great field positon and a Martin touchdown three plays later showed that there was still life in the guys in white.  Rutgers took a 41-38 lead with 4:45 left in the game after a Kyle Federico field goal.  A late fumble by Martin that gave Maryland the ball brought the fear into Rutgers fans that everything could end terribly.  But the defense came out and stunned Maryland by stopping them on a fourth and one play to seal the game for Rutgers.  History was made that night as Rutgers made the comeback after being down by their largest deficit of 25 points.  It was Nova’s last regular season game as a Scarlet Knight and he made the most of it with 347 yards and 4 touchdowns and having three receivers with over 100 yards in the air.

That Maryland game seemed to incorporate all of the ups and downs that Rutgers went through the entire year.  In the first half, Rutgers could not stop the run of both the running back and dual threat quarterback, which they had problems with against Nebraska and Ohio State.  Then offensively Rutgers could not get a rhythm going, which was seen in the games against Penn State, Wisconsin, and Michigan State.  Then it got to the second half, and Rutgers showed their perseverance to keep on fighting.  Nova came out with an amazing performance, similar to the Indiana and Michigan games, along with the strong defensive play late to help seal it in the end.

What happened in the Maryland game connects to the thoughts that everyone had on the year for Rutgers.  The end of the first half was similar to the beginning of the season, not having too many expectations for anything big to happen.  The second half evoked the mindset of the fans at the end of the year, amazed at how far and how much this team persevered to get where they are.  A 7-5 season and their ninth bowl appearance in 10 years is something neither the fans nor experts could have predicted.  Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though, this team has a lot of questions and concerns to answer before returning next year.  If anything, this season may have given people more expectations for next year, but that remains to be seen.  But before you start to worry about how the team will do next year, take a step back and appreciate what they did this year.  At the end of the day Rutgers made history, proving many of its doubters wrong.  They are a long way from where they want to be, but they have taken the first step and that’s all that should matter.

UNC Outlasts Rutgers in Double OT

By Maria DiPietro

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights dropped a heartbreaker to the North Carolina Tar Heels in double-overtime Thursday night, falling by a final score of 96-93. The disappointing loss was RU’s first of the season.

Rutgers looked a little sloppy out of the gate, missing their first 9 shots and started the game down 11-0.

However, senior Betnijah Laney quickly turned the tables with the first bucket – and also joined the 1000th point club and achieved her seventh straight double-double all before half-time.  She finished the game with 24 points and 24 rebounds – which was a career high for rebounds.

“We fell a little short with the outcome, but I was just determined to do whatever it took,” Laney said after the game.

Despite the slow start, Rutgers led UNC, 33-29 at the half.

In the second half, the game got interesting.  Rutgers went up by 12 against the Tarheels – with a lot of uncontested shots and short jumpers.

But, with a season-high of turnovers for the Scarlet Knights didn’t help them keep the lead, as UNC tied the game at the end of regulation, 71-71.

UNC forward sophomore Stephanie Mavunga fouled out late in the second, even with scoring 15 points and playing excellent defense in the paint against Rutgers.

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Betnijah Laney had an impressive 24 points and 24 rebounds in the loss to Carolina. (Photo Credit: Scarletknights.com)

Without Mavunga, UNC prevailed through the first OT, going almost point-for-point with Rutgers to begin.  Rutgers did look a little slower, as the Tar Heels took a small lead, but two huge shots by Syessence Davis – a 3-pointer to bring the Scarlet Knights within one basket, and then a quick lay-up underneath the basket, brought the game into double overtime, 83-83.

However in double OT Davis attempted a very off and questionable shot from the three-point line, which forced the Scarlet Knights with no timeouts left to foul, helping UNC take the lead 96-90 with 10 seconds left.  Although Laney ended the game with a three-pointer, it wasn’t enough to win the game.

After her victory, Tar Heels coach Sylvia Hatchell had some bold comments about the game. “It was a great, great game for women’s basketball…it was an honor to play in this game, and I think both teams are without a doubt at least top 10 in the nation, at least deserve 5 or 6 in my opinion,” she said.

She went on to talk about sophomore guard Allisha Gray, who scored 29 total points and finished with 11 rebounds.  “No doubt she is an all-American and she’s just such a great kid and a great player.  But, I also think Rutgers has players like that too.”

When asked about what Coach Stringer had to say for her team, who went into double overtime in their first game of the season against a ranked team, compared to UNC’s 4th game.  “I told them not to drop their heads.  There was a couple things we needed to address…but I was extremely proud of their warrior mentality,” she said.

“Better now than later in the season,” Laney added.

Rutgers has a chance to bounce back from this loss Sunday afternoon at Arkansas. Tune into that game at 2 pm at 88.7 FM, or radio.rutgers.edu.

 

Rutgers Throttles Davidson 100-44

By Mike O’Sullivan

Playing their third game in six days, the 21st-ranked Rutgers women’s basketball team (6-0) dominated the Davidson Wildcats (3-3) by a score of 100-44 at the RAC.

The victory extended the team’s longest active winning streak in the country to 12 games, a run that dates back to their WNIT Championship from last season.

The Scarlet Knights began the game on a 9-0 run even after turning the ball over on their first two possessions, and Davidson got on the board with a three-pointer from forward Hannah Early.

They quickly recovered from that shot, however, and went on another 9-0 run to extend their lead to 18-3 within the first five minutes of the game.

The defensive tenacity was apparent early on, as senior guard Syessence Davis came off the bench and recorded three steals in her first few minutes of action. She would keep up her aggressive play and finish with eight steals for the game. Her effort was shared by the rest of the team, as they constantly put pressure on the ball and forced Davidson to take tough shots on nearly every possession.

Inbounding the ball was also an issue for the Wildcats, as they were called for a 5-second violation when they could not inbound the ball underneath their basket with 2:15 remaining in the first half.

Rutgers continued to keep up their ball pressure throughout the first half, making every possession difficult for Davidson, as they took a 55-17 lead into the break.

The high intensity of their defense was especially effective because they did not allow Davidson to reach the free throw line in the first half. They also had nine steals at the break, forcing 15 turnovers from Davidson.

Sophomore guard Tyler Scaife enjoyed a very good first half, leading the Knights with 16 points on 5 of 7 shooting heading into halftime. She continued her hot shooting in the second half, leading all scorers by finishing with 23 points, while adding 5 assists and 3 rebounds.

The Knights came out to start the second half with much of the same intensity they showed throughout the first 20 minutes, continuing to play tight defense and utilizing an up-tempo offense.

Turnovers seemed to be the only issue for the Knights in this game, as they turned the ball over 18 times, an increase from their 12-turnover performance in their victory over Colgate last Friday. Fortunately for them, they were able to force 29 Davidson turnovers, which proved to be a big key in the game.

Senior forward Betnijah Laney had her highest scoring game of the season with 19 points, and finished with a double-double by adding 12 rebounds. It marked the sixth straight double-double for Laney to start her senior campaign, as she left to a big ovation late in the second half.

Nine different Knights scored in the contest, as head coach C. Vivian Stringer was able to deploy numerous players off the bench in the blowout victory. Five Knights landed in double figures, with scoring coming relatively easy for the team in this game.

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The Scarlet Knights have plenty to smile about, as they have started the season 6-0. (Photo Credit: Scarletknights.com)

For those in the crowd that stayed throughout the entirety of the game, they erupted in applause after the Knights broke the century mark on junior guard’s Cynthia Hernandez’s 4-point play with just over a minute remaining. Crossing the 100-point mark was significant, as it was the first time the Knights have done so since a 100-71 victory over West Virginia in 1995.

The Knights finished the game with 16 steals, while also having 27 assists, as they played efficient team-basketball. They continued to play hard defense without fouling too much, evidenced by Davidson finishing with only eight free throw attempts compared to 29 for the Knights.

As was a common theme throughout many aspects of the game, the Knights were very efficient from the field. They shot 36 of 53, good for 57.1%, and made five of their 10 three-point attempts.

Stringer was pleased with her team’s effort against Davidson, and proud of the way they continued to play hard throughout the entirety of the game.

“It was our intention to have everyone continue to push,” she said. “We wouldn’t accept anything less than that. We were looking to push the ball, to score early and quick.”

Another point of emphasis she mentioned postgame was hoping to see her team play highly contested defense without fouling, which they able to do.

“We were anticipating and switching [effectively],” she said. [Syessence Davis] is a monster at playing up tight. Anything that is up close, she will make you uncomfortable…For the most part, we really pressured them and when that happens, it allows everybody else to read and react.”

It will be a quick turnaround for the Knights, as they host #11 North Carolina at the RAC on Thursday. WRSU will be on the call for the game, with the Knights receiving an early test against a ranked team.

Stringer is looking forward to the matchup, saying that the Knights will have to show the same intensity in that contest.

“North Carolina can score 100 points in a minute. We all know that,” she said. “They are going to push the court and take the shot from three-point range, so you have to come out and play them. We’ve got to be able to play our game and try not to deviate from it. It was a great thing today to see us return to playing stingy defense, pushing the tempo, distributing the ball…Let’s see what happens going forward.”

Laney, Copper Lead Rutgers to Victory

By Lance Glinn

The 21st  ranked Rutgers Women’s basketball team kept the ball rolling in the right direction as they improved their record to 5-0, beating the Colgate Raiders 60-44 in front of  a light crowd of 1,428 at the RAC in Piscataway on Friday. Forward Betnijah Laney paced Rutgers, recording her fifth straight double – double with 17 points on 8 for 13 shooting with 18 rebounds to add as well.  Forward Kahleah Copper aided in the winning effort with 17 points on 7 for 13 shooting and 7 rebounds. The Scarlet Knights led most of the game with Colgate’s only lead being a 15-14 lead midway through the first half.

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Senior Betnijah Laney had her fifth straight double-double against Colgate (Photo Credi: AP)

The 16-point win by the Scarlet Knights is not totally indicative on how the game played out.  After leading 38 – 24 at the end of the first half, the Scarlet Knights failed to score through the first 7 and half minutes of the second half. When asked about struggling early on in the second half, Coach Stringer responded “I just didn’t start the same people that I normally start…. We need to see how many other people can contribute because we need to be deep.”

Forward Betnijah Laney, when asked about the sluggish start to the second half, said that experience played a factor in Rutgers ability to bounce back and dig themselves out of the hole. “We have the same exact team coming back from last year. We know how it felt in different situations last year and how we don’t want to feel again, so we just try to keep working harder so that we don’t have to experience the same things we did last year.”

Vivian Stringer’s Scarlet knights did a superb job defensively holding Carole Harris, Colgate’s leading scorer averaging around 17 points a game, to 6 points on 2 for 7 shooting. Rutgers forced the Raiders into 18 turnovers as well as held the Raiders to shooting 28 percent on 16 for 56 from the field.

The Scarlet Knights struggled from the field, only shooting 26 for 70 at 37 percent, while only going 1 for 11 from three for 9 percent from long range. Rutgers also struggled from the free throw line, shooting 7 of 15 from the line at 46 percent.

The Rutgers Women’s basketball team next plays on Sunday, November 30 at the RAC against the Davidson Wildcats of the A-10 conference. Tip off is scheduled for 1 PM and coverage begins at 12:50 PM on WRSU.

 

Mack’s Late Surge Stymies St. Francis Comeback

By Dominick Savino

Three-year captain Myles Mack lived up to his billing Sunday night, launching a late-game scoring surge to lead the Rutgers men’s basketball team (2-1) to a 76-73 victory over the Saint Francis-Brooklyn Terriers (0-3) in what proved to be a more hotly contested game than the 1st half indicated.

From the tipoff, the Scarlet Knights were firing on all cylinders. The Terriers attempted to slow the Scarlet Knights’ high-tempo offense at the start of the game by applying relentless full-court pressure, but Rutgers succeeded in breaking the press and jumped out to an early 9-2 lead. By the midway point of the 1st half, Rutgers held a commanding 24-14 lead, thanks in part to six traveling violations by the Terriers in the first six minutes of the game. The Terriers clawed themselves back into the game, cutting the deficit to as little as 7, but three Myles Mack steals in the last four minutes helped push the lead into double digits. As time expired in the first half, a corner 3-pointer by freshman forward D.J. Foreman sent Rutgers into the locker room up 45-32, the largest lead of the contest.

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Senior Kadeem Jack was impressive in his season debut tonight. (Photo Credit: AP)

Out of the intermission, St. Francis looked like a completely different team, as strong post play by forwards Amdy Fall and Kevin Douglass sparked a 24-11 Terrier run during the first 10 minutes of the half and leveled the score at 56. With 9:09 left in the game, a corner 3-pointer by guard Gunnar Olafsson gave Saint Francis its first lead of the night. However, with 6 minutes left, Myles Mack brought Rutgers back to life, scoring 5 points in less than a minute to give the Scarlet Knights a slim, one-point margin. The lead would change hands five times following Mack’s go-ahead layup, until the Scarlet Knights took it back for good with 26 seconds left. Two Myles Mack free throws made the score 75-73, and stout Rutgers defense during the Terriers’ last possession forced them into a poor shot from behind the arc that fell into the lap of Junior Etou.

Myles Mack was by far the Scarlet Knights’ key player, scoring a team-high 25 points and picking up a career-best 8 steals to go with 5 rebounds. His constant defensive pressure and quick hands in the passing lanes were the prominent reasons behind the Terriers’ 21 turnovers, and his perfect 8-8 performance from the line helped seal the deal for the Scarlet Knights late in the 2nd half.

Lost in Mack’s performance and the hard-fought win was the return of senior forward and co-captain Kadeem Jack, who made his first start and appearance this season after sitting out the team’s first two games with a right thumb injury. He finished the game with 13 points on 5-11 shooting and 5 rebounds, all on the offensive glass. When asked about Jack after the game, Rutgers head coach Eddie Jordan said, “We had to monitor his minutes, see how his stamina and conditioning was. But he made some big-time shots off the glass tonight.”

The Scarlet Knights’ win Sunday comes at an important point during the early part of the season, as it brings the team over .500 before it enters a stretch of 4 games in 7 days that includes road matchups against Vanderbilt and Clemson.

The Rutgers men’s basketball team plays its next game on Tuesday, November 25 at the RAC against St. Peter’s University. Tipoff is at 7:00pm, and coverage begins on WRSU 88.7 FM at 6:45.

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