Danny's 5 thoughts: After Michigan State 2/20

by Danny Breslauer

1) Ball screen defense was the game-changer tonight. Cassius Winston got whatever he wanted with some simple top-of-the-key screens that led to 10-foot floaters & easy lobs to Xavier Tillman. Sometimes, it was guards getting stuck & other times the posts not filling the lane.

2) The turning point of the night came at 40-37 #Rutgers, when Michigan State got a series of offensive rebounds. For the first time all year, the Scarlet Knights bigs looked dejected about being out-muscled for those boards and it led to the huge McQuaid 3 to make it 40-40.

3) Elite teams get to FT line & take advantage. MSU was 20-22 from the stripe. Unconscious. RU was 9-17 & minus-14 on the glass plus hit only five 3s. Can't beat a potential Big Ten champion that way. Geo Baker looked smooth on O at times & Ron Harper Jr. is coming into his own.

4) He fights for everything he gets (9 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists), but Eugene Omoruyi's 4-for-13 came from some missed layups. Killer in a close game. On a night that the supporting cast didn't give much, & RU protected the ball (11 TOs), those conversions were opportunities.

5) Rutgers played toe-to-toe for 25 minutes w/ a very good team, & ran out of gas. I hope that the fanbase can find a way to fill the RAC on Sunday night vs. Minnesota. 6:30 tip is early enough to get the kids home for the school week. Enormous game against a team showing holes.

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Jon Newman