By Matt Sugam
Rutgers’ (13-7, 3-6 Big East) losing streak continued as they fell to No. 24 Cincinnati (16-5, 4-4 Big East) 62-54 at Fifth Third Arena in a game they had to have. Here’s what to take away from the game:
1. The wheels have fallen off
After an exceptional first half where Rutgers led Cincinnati 30-22, things unraveled for the Scarlet Knights in the second half. And so too is their once promsing season. Following a 3-2 start in the Big East, Rutgers has now dropped four in a row. They desperately need to right the ship and will now have a week to figure out how to do so before hosting No. 12 Louisville (17-4, 5-3 Big East).
2. Turnover central
Turnovers have been Rutgers’ achilles heel all season. They hit double digits in that category on a nightly basis. Tonight was no different. The Scarlet Knights had a season-high 21 turnovers. It’s cost them games in the past just like it did tonight. And if they can’t find a way to take better care of the basketball, it will continue to lose them games in the future.
3. Justin Jackson’s block party
Averaging almost seven blocks a game, Cincinnati is one of the best teams in the Big East when it comes to blocking shots. Rutgers found that out the hard way. The Bearcats swatted away eight of the Scarlet Knights shots, seven of which came from Jackson
Eli Carter’s struggles continued as he went 3-of-11 from the field along with two turnovers.
Rice with play-by-play broadcaster Chris Carlin and color commentator Dick Lloyd on Rutgers Radio Network’s post-game interview:
“Some of the turnovers – just the soft, careless turnovers that you get when other teams pick it up, we have to have a response.”
“Sean Kilpatrick certainly stepped it up there for a five or six minute window. Showed what type of an all-confernece player is and he certainly looked it.”
“When we get a little tired and they start to turn things up you have to have a response. You have to have a toughness and execution and we’re just lacking that now.”
On if a week off until the next game is good timing for this team: “Yeah, it is. It’s not easy and now it’s on us…It’s a good week off. We can work on some things.”