By Matt Sugam
Rutgers fell to Villanova 71-63. Here’s what to take away from the game.
1. Response without Carter
Shortly after the DePaul game it was announced that Eli Carter would miss the remainder of the season with a fractured fibula. It was a circumstance a team would rally around or fold under in the final stretch of the season. Tonight they did the former in the first. Rutgers’ defense was tenacious as the Scarlet Knights were playing a great game for the first 20 minutes before things slowly unraveled in the second half as they were wore down.
2. Mack attack
It was clear as soon as Carter went down, the scoring onus fell on Myles Mack. He responded with 16 straight for Rutgers points against DePaul. He followed that performance up with team-high 24 points – including 14 straight for Rutgers in the first half – and five assists. Not to mention a team-leading eight rebounds as the smallest player on the court.
3. Jacked up
Kadeem Jack had his best game of his young career. On both ends of the floor. The 6-foot-9, 225-pounder had a career-high 12 points to go along with six rebounds. He was a presence in the paint on defense and had two blocks.
Rutgers succumbed to Villonava’s full court pressure in the second half and had eight turnovers.
On his guards: “I’ve got to get them out more. I’ve got to give both of them a rest so they can finish better. I think Jerome (Seagears) was fatigued. His decisions were fatigued at the end of the game. And I’ve got to get Jerome — he’s such a competitor and he’s so good defensively — but he wasn’t good defensively in the last five minutes because he was too tired. That’s on me. I’ve got to do a better job.”
“I wanted Kadeem to get the ball four or five more times. That young man was ballin’ tonight.”
“Mike does a real good job with that team defensively — it’s just hard to run offense. In the second half, we just had to simplify and try and drive the ball and make plays.”