GAME 13 Michigan: Find Your Way Bac

bac2therac

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Find your way back.....Geo, Pikiell, shotmakers, the defense, toughness, the RAC, the Rutgers we grew up on.....vintage experience tonight.



Tremendous win tonight. Perhaps to me one of the most satisfying wins since joining the Big Ten. The last monkey around the programs neck was finally removed. The woes of RU vs Michigan go way back to the deflating Final 4 defeat, continued through a tough NIT championship loss in front of a partisan RU crowd at MSG and then carrying over 9 straight conference losses none more disappointing was the Wolverines handing RU their only loss at the RAC in 2020. Winless in 13 tries vs perhaps the biggest name school in the conference, tonight presented perhaps the best opportunity for a win. A talented yet young and wobbly Michigan team who has struggled to find any identity this season seemed ripe for the picking. In a pregame thread leading up to this game, I said this was going to be a measuring stick game for both programs. I think what we saw tonight was Rutgers at its best. The Geo and Ron show, the dynamic duo giving us more of what we craved from that glorious breakthrough season in 2020. Something that had been missing for so long. The Purdue win was glorious in its own right because of the miracle finish and knocking off a # 1 win. That was historical. That was threading the needle. Beating Michigan tonight was historical. Beating Michigan by thoroughly dominating them in every facet of the game up and down the stat line and really not even being challenged was impressive. RU won because they kicked Michigan ass. They outrebounded them, they outshot them, they defended better, they intimidated them, they were more physical. Pike and company outcoached, outprepared and outmotivated Howard and his crew. This was winning in such a satisfying manner. This wasn't Rutgers getting out to a big lead and trying to hold on. This was Rutgers sustaining a full 40 minutes.

True, Michigan is not a top 25 school this year and may or may not even contend for a NCAA berth by seasons end but its not about them, its about us. Nothing will ever be able to remove the stain of losing to Lafayette. Not even beating #1 Purdue. The rocky start to the season left RU not even thinking about NCAA but just thinking about winning the next game. What we have learned from Rutgers is in its 4 game stretch vs Clemson, Purdue, SHU and Michigan is you can probably toss into the dumpster what you thought of the team back in November. This is not the same team and its quite clear that several players have shook off an inexplicable rough start to the season. The core 5 are playing as well as they can right now. When Geo and Ron are in sync, Rutgers can beat anyone on its schedule. If RU could play all its games at the RAC, it would compete for the Big 10 championship. Alas this team also has glaring flaws and it all revolves around depth. Yet during this 4 game stretch, Pike and his charges have done a yeomen's job of hiding these deficiencies. For all the handwringing about recruiting and rotations, he has proven why he is the paid coach and we are just bums throwing out our frustrations on a message board. As we approached December, it was getting late early for this program. As we get to the first weekend in December maybe just maybe the mantra of one game at a time. Day by day, game by game improvement is the elixir to navigate through the Big 10 landscape. The old cliche says "its not where you started but its where you end"

The game itself was full of plays. As said in earlier recaps, players make plays. Geo a sort of vindication for him tonight. A really uneven start to the year, some brutal performances vs weak competition then missing time from a hamstring injury, hit by the flu, did not even play vs Purdue and now tonight Geo floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee. Absolutely deadly tonight. Vintage Geo Baker tonight.....39 minutes, 10-15 shooting, 5-7 from 3, 27 points, 4 boards, 4 assists in a whopping 39 minutes. One of his best games ever as a Knight and a true testament for refocusing his season after missing time and being the Geo that he and every RU fan knows he can be. Again you cannot expect sick lines like this all the time but a locked in Geo is what we ask for. Shots will not always fall but focus and leadership is key. How Geo goes is often how Rutgers goes moreso than Ron even. Its a big reason that we sputtered early on. Geo succeeding helps everyone else on the team succeed including the bench which needs to contribute. The energy is contagious to everyone else. Even guys like Miller and Jones who did not play much tonight are helped by watching and playing with Geo. Lead by example for someone has been hard on Geo, he needs to get a ton of praise for how he has comeback and elevated his game. Tonight was almost effortless for him yet some of those jumpers were not easy shots. They were made with breezy confidence. So sweet to watch some of those highlights in the 2nd half. I think he had about 3 very key shots in key moments, the kind of shots that allowed RU to sustain double digit leads none more important his 3 when Michigan went on a small run to cut the lead to 8 with about 5 minutes to go and then another with about 3 to go that put RU up 70-59 and likely was the final dagger needed and Geo followed that up with a key rebound. Just a superlative game and could be deserving of a Big 10 player of the week honor depending on what he does vs Nebby

Geo could not do it alone of course. The 2nd half of the dynamic duo Ron Harper was even more deadly from 3, draining 5 of his 6. Ron struggled with his 2s and finished 7-13 but with 20 points and 6 boards, a very strong defensive effort tonight. Ron was more effective scoring in the first half but better defensively in the 2nd. Ron's flurry of 3s in the first half allowed RU to get that breathing room they never relinquished. I think a key Ron bucket was late in the first half where RU was struggling offensively. When Ron and Geo are scoring over 20 each, RU is a tough out but I was impressed with Harper's defense tonight as well. With Caleb back in the game, the pressure was off Ron to produce and it was Caleb who simply stepped up. How frustrating must it have been for Caleb to get those two early fouls which sort of negated his game. When Caleb was back in he made up for lost time converting right away on old fashion 3 point play to start the 2nd half. Caleb had 5 boards and 4 assists and it is safe to say the Caleb we saw in November is no longer. Ditto for Paul. Paul with a quietly solid game getting in with a 3 in the first half, only 7 points but a whopping 7 assists with just one turnover and really had some great vision especially in cruch time in distributing a 3 to Geo and a big dunk by Cliff. How about Big Cliff. Listen Dickinson got most of what he wanted tonight. Cliff just could not handle him but the keys were Cliff stayed out of foul trouble until late. Cliff played a whopping 35 minutes which might be a career high. He struggled with his shot, I think 4 of them might have come on one possession, yet Cliff with 12 boards was one of the key reasons why Michigan was basically one and done especially in the first half. Cliff has come along way. He will have better offensive nights and easier bigs to guard. He bent but did not break tonight. Its a big step for him.

Give props to Hyatt because those buckets he made, Rutgers really needed in those moments, 17 min, 6 points, 5 rebounds. RU sorely needs a couple of guys off the bench to be able to hit those open shots. I think Hyatt's first two plays were dribbles off his leg. In the game. It appeared like Hyatt just trying too much as we have seen before but after that he really settled in and those jumpers were smooth. Its a step in the right direction for him. Also a shout to Dean Reiber...just 4 minutes but took a shot., made his free throws and then was able to come in late for defense to sub for Cliff. Thats all we could ask, role playing minutes where he does not hurt the team. Miller at 8 minutes showed some defensive intensity and Jones with just 5, I think all in the first half didnt factor in at all but you know what, with Michigan playing just 7 or 8. I do not think it was a game where either frosh should have been counted on for anything. Mag got popped in the mouth again apparently and lost some teeth so we will have to see how that plays out going forward. He is a guy we are really going to need because he really gives those important energy minutes.

Of course the coaching staff needs some plaudits as well. Pike kept his team together during the covid situation, eased them in with two cupcake type outings and now everyone seems in game ready shape and I like that he was willing to extend Geo to 39 minutes and Cliff to 35. Certainly not a blueprint for every game but there are games where you have to lean on your best players. By hook or crook, the past 4 games, Pike is doing an outstanding job of getting the most of his team. What impressed me about tonight is he has his players back to rebounding. Nifty to watch was RU seemed to try and bother the ball handler sometimes doubling them, sure it gave some easy looks to Dickinson and then Housten in the 2nd half but I liked the aggressiveness. Night and day from November. Michigan seemed to move away from taking the 3 after having very little success in the first half.

Do not know exactly what happened at the end of the game before the handshakes but damn I like our team especially Ron not backing down. All game long we were the tougher team and after the game was over, we still were, while the lasting image of the Wolverines was an flailing Diabate? being heavily restrained to howling jeers from the RU faithful. These are the kind of moments you live for at the RAC which suddenly has regained its mojo. Big credit to the fanbase, had to be around 7K there which surprised me given all the restrictions and covid lurking. The long and twisting road of college basketball. Rutgers incredibly finding their way back to what they were and giving the fans perhaps a little more to add to the story.

 
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NewJerseyHawk

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Good recap....sometimes coaching is overlooked but RU did a good job giving up very few open 3s to Brooks and making the frosh Houstan and Diabite shoot.....

But I know fans are in love with theories about fixing your problems via the transfer portal.....and there are instances where a program finds a piece that's valuable....

The portal is hit but mostly miss.....and I am saying that in the sense that if you have to count on a portal kid contributing right away, you may be frustrated when it doesn't happen.

Michigan picked up Mike Smith from Columbia and Chaundre Brown from Wake Forest 2 years ago.....Smith was dynamic and perfect to replace Zavier Simpson.....Brown did the work on defense to stop a RHJ from going bananas with big scoring games.

Michigan went back to the portal again and frankly, has come up empty.....Devante Jones has been at best up and down as their PG.....he didn't look comfortable and never was a factor......and Baker destroyed Jones all night long....it was clear to me, going all the way back to when Michigan hosted Seton Hall, that Jones was a huge drop-off from Mike Smith.....and Michigan top recruiting class of Houstan, Diabite...and others, will take time to develop.

Veterans win in most leagues....but if you go portal and need a seamless plug in, good luck....it's a tough adjustment and not going to be immediate impact.....it may cost Michigan not only a drop-off in performance, but Jones (if he isn't going to be able to defend), is going to cost Michigan a chance to even make the NCAAs....

Jones averaged 17PPG his soph season at Coastal Carolina and 19PPG last year at Coastal......

Before last night's game, he was at 7.5PPG....his numbers are down across the board and Michigan plays a tough schedule, so there is no grace period....at 6'1, he never bothered Baker, Geo shot over him all game long.....Jones went 0-3 & didn't score.

On the flip side for RU.....Hyatt has struggled a lot getting into the flow on how RU plays basketball.....but his talent is there and he gives RU something they will need, rebounding, toughness and ability to play through contact.

Gonzales-Agee for RU was back after missing the last 2 games, but at best has been uneven to a player you may need to wait on a little longer.

For RU, Hyatt is in a perfect spot where while he gets accustomed to being here, RHJ, Geo and even Caleb and Paul are able to keep things afloat.....Hyatt will get there as will Jaden Jones...but they need more time to get there.

If RU had to ask Hyatt to come in from Day 1/Game 1 as a starter to be that guy, the results could be very different.....players need time to adjust, new system, new team, new opponents etc....it almost appears that even though Mag is a frosh or RS frosh, he looks more certain on where to go and Hyatt is catching up a bit.

Hyatt will be a valuable piece as we get into the true schedule grind of the B1G....but we have the cushion to not ask for instant results.

I think the portal should support or add depth for what is there, but more often than not, unless you are in a full rebuild like Minnesota or Penn State or others, if you are looking for the portal for starters or immediate impact kids, there are far fewer ones that are clicking right now around the B1G and college basketball.....

For RU and it's program.....keep developing depth like Caleb, like Mag, like Hyatt and Jones and even Miller....and let them grow into your system for Year 1, then see who takes the jump in Year 2 or 3......

This Michigan win was a win about having veterans in your program and home court....but it also was about playing in sync with your teammates and you need as much continuity across your roster to stay consistent.

I think the portal may have launched Juwan Howard in Year 2, but is likely going to burn him in Year 3.....
 

NewJerseyHawk

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Great recap - the only thing I’d add was a mention of Reiber’s assist. That was a really nice pass. Outside of taking that 3 (albeit wide open), Reiber had a very nice game.

The development of recruiting to your system is having Cliff or Reiber able and willing to take those perimeter shots, vs having a Shaq Doorson or others who are left open and just not comfortable with that shot.

If Reiber keeps working on that shot, teams are going to give him that look....a wide open look, if he makes it, you are stealing points that the scouting reports tell our opponents that RU won't score from that part of the floor.

Mulcahy took a Top of the arc 3 and he has not hit those until this year.....his 3s have been on the wings and corners.....credit to Mulcahy for improving on shooting from that part of the floor....

I will take my chances with Reiber in that spot....same with Cliff.....those will completely change how good RU can be, if we knock down a couple of those a game.
 

PSAL_Hoops

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The development of recruiting to your system is having Cliff or Reiber able and willing to take those perimeter shots, vs having a Shaq Doorson or others who are left open and just not comfortable with that shot.

If Reiber keeps working on that shot, teams are going to give him that look....a wide open look, if he makes it, you are stealing points that the scouting reports tell our opponents that RU won't score from that part of the floor.

Mulcahy took a Top of the arc 3 and he has not hit those until this year.....his 3s have been on the wings and corners.....credit to Mulcahy for improving on shooting from that part of the floor....

I will take my chances with Reiber in that spot....same with Cliff.....those will completely change how good RU can be, if we knock down a couple of those a game.
Fair enough. Cliff’s was worse. I hear what your saying but felt unnecessary in this kind of game with a ton of time on the clock.
 

PSAL_Hoops

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The rebounding improvement was more reason for optimism than the shooting. We’ll have good days and bad days shooting the ball. Michigan’s defense also played into an optimal situation for our perimeter game. We’d been getting schooled on the glass in some of the cupcake games. Looked like a completely different team in this regard versus Michigan.
 

rufeelinit

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Nice to beat Michigan. We shot it well and seemed energized. While you prefaced some of your remarks by indicating this was about RU and not UM, I think the recap would have been more balanced to at least acknowledge how many guys UM was missing last night. Johns in particular has been a thorn in our side during past games. Certainly that point was not missed in the Post write-up I read this morning whose headline was RU finally beating a depleted UM Team.

Good win. Lets make sure this effort is sustained and that there are no slip ups against the likes of Nebraska on Saturday.
 

Greene Rice FIG

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This team will go as Ron and Geo go. All night long our offense got in to our offensive sets and we used our offense for good shots. 75% credit to us (mostly Geo) and 25% credit to Michigan who needs to do a better job defensively making it harder for us.
 

NewJerseyHawk

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Fair enough. Cliff’s was worse. I hear what your saying but felt unnecessary in this kind of game with a ton of time on the clock.

Cliffs was a quick shot and early in the shot clock, but he was guarding Dickinson and probably wanted to counter some of the points Dickinson was scoring. Given how hard he worked on the glass and defense, I am fine with him pushing up a couple of "quick shots"....
 

NewJerseyHawk

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I sort of agree/disagree

eventually he will make those shots. Next year?
Next week.....Next game.....the form on the shot attempts is solid.....let Cliff fire away, he is a front line player looking to develop his face-up game.
 

NewJerseyHawk

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Nice to beat Michigan. We shot it well and seemed energized. While you prefaced some of your remarks by indicating this was about RU and not UM, I think the recap would have been more balanced to at least acknowledge how many guys UM was missing last night. Johns in particular has been a thorn in our side during past games. Certainly that point was not missed in the Post write-up I read this morning whose headline was RU finally beating a depleted UM Team.

Good win. Lets make sure this effort is sustained and that there are no slip ups against the likes of Nebraska on Saturday.

The Michigan was missing guys is irrelevant, the bench players were not starters and other than Brandon Johns, none are impact players based on their 1st 12 games....RU and their starters beat Michigan and their starters from start to finish. It may have been closer if they had a full roster, it also could have been a 20 point rout if Cliff made a couple of short shots and we hit some more FTs....
 

RUDead

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Nice win. Playing as a team instead of hero ball. Ball movement was excellent. Best game of the season IMO.

Knocking down those wide open threes early definitely helped .
 

FIJI'83

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Terrific win------the game always looks better when you're hitting 3's.
We hit 11 threes at a 47+% clip. A total outlier as compared to our typical performance. Michigan’s bench was 3 players long. Agreed terrific win, but need to carry this over to Saturday and beat Nebraska. If we do, the turnaround would start gaining traction.
 

BossNJ

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Find your way back.....Geo, Pikiell, shotmakers, the defense, toughness, the RAC, the Rutgers we grew up on.....vintage experience tonight.



Tremendous win tonight. Perhaps to me one of the most satisfying wins since joining the Big Ten. The last monkey around the programs neck was finally removed. The woes of RU vs Michigan go way back to the deflating Final 4 defeat, continued through a tough NIT championship loss in front of a partisan RU crowd at MSG and then carrying over 9 straight conference losses none more disappointing was the Wolverines handing RU their only loss at the RAC in 2020. Winless in 13 tries vs perhaps the biggest name school in the conference, tonight presented perhaps the best opportunity for a win. A talented yet young and wobbly Michigan team who has struggled to find any identity this season seemed ripe for the picking. In a pregame thread leading up to this game, I said this was going to be a measuring stick game for both programs. I think what we saw tonight was Rutgers at its best. The Geo and Ron show, the dynamic duo giving us more of what we craved from that glorious breakthrough season in 2020. Something that had been missing for so long. The Purdue win was glorious in its own right because of the miracle finish and knocking off a # 1 win. That was historical. That was threading the needle. Beating Michigan tonight was historical. Beating Michigan by thoroughly dominating them in every facet of the game up and down the stat line and really not even being challenged was impressive. RU won because they kicked Michigan ass. They outrebounded them, they outshot them, they defended better, they intimidated them, they were more physical. Pike and company outcoached, outprepared and outmotivated Howard and his crew. This was winning in such a satisfying manner. This wasn't Rutgers getting out to a big lead and trying to hold on. This was Rutgers sustaining a full 40 minutes.

True, Michigan is not a top 25 school this year and may or may not even contend for a NCAA berth by seasons end but its not about them, its about us. Nothing will ever be able to remove the stain of losing to Lafayette. Not even beating #1 Purdue. The rocky start to the season left RU not even thinking about NCAA but just thinking about winning the next game. What we have learned from Rutgers is in its 4 game stretch vs Clemson, Purdue, SHU and Michigan is you can probably toss into the dumpster what you thought of the team back in November. This is not the same team and its quite clear that several players have shook off an inexplicable rough start to the season. The core 5 are playing as well as they can right now. When Geo and Ron are in sync, Rutgers can beat anyone on its schedule. If RU could play all its games at the RAC, it would compete for the Big 10 championship. Alas this team also has glaring flaws and it all revolves around depth. Yet during this 4 game stretch, Pike and his charges have done a yeomen's job of hiding these deficiencies. For all the handwringing about recruiting and rotations, he has proven why he is the paid coach and we are just bums throwing out our frustrations on a message board. As we approached December, it was getting late early for this program. As we get to the first weekend in December maybe just maybe the mantra of one game at a time. Day by day, game by game improvement is the elixir to navigate through the Big 10 landscape. The old cliche says "its not where you started but its where you end"

The game itself was full of plays. As said in earlier recaps, players make plays. Geo a sort of vindication for him tonight. A really uneven start to the year, some brutal performances vs weak competition then missing time from a hamstring injury, hit by the flu, did not even play vs Purdue and now tonight Geo floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee. Absolutely deadly tonight. Vintage Geo Baker tonight.....39 minutes, 10-15 shooting, 5-7 from 3, 27 points, 4 boards, 4 assists in a whopping 39 minutes. One of his best games ever as a Knight and a true testament for refocusing his season after missing time and being the Geo that he and every RU fan knows he can be. Again you cannot expect sick lines like this all the time but a locked in Geo is what we ask for. Shots will not always fall but focus and leadership is key. How Geo goes is often how Rutgers goes moreso than Ron even. Its a big reason that we sputtered early on. Geo succeeding helps everyone else on the team succeed including the bench which needs to contribute. The energy is contagious to everyone else. Even guys like Miller and Jones who did not play much tonight are helped by watching and playing with Geo. Lead by example for someone has been hard on Geo, he needs to get a ton of praise for how he has comeback and elevated his game. Tonight was almost effortless for him yet some of those jumpers were not easy shots. They were made with breezy confidence. So sweet to watch some of those highlights in the 2nd half. I think he had about 3 very key shots in key moments, the kind of shots that allowed RU to sustain double digit leads none more important his 3 when Michigan went on a small run to cut the lead to 8 with about 5 minutes to go and then another with about 3 to go that put RU up 70-59 and likely was the final dagger needed and Geo followed that up with a key rebound. Just a superlative game and could be deserving of a Big 10 player of the week honor depending on what he does vs Nebby

Geo could not do it alone of course. The 2nd half of the dynamic duo Ron Harper was even more deadly from 3, draining 5 of his 6. Ron struggled with his 2s and finished 7-13 but with 20 points and 6 boards, a very strong defensive effort tonight. Ron was more effective scoring in the first half but better defensively in the 2nd. Ron's flurry of 3s in the first half allowed RU to get that breathing room they never relinquished. I think a key Ron bucket was late in the first half where RU was struggling offensively. When Ron and Geo are scoring over 20 each, RU is a tough out but I was impressed with Harper's defense tonight as well. With Caleb back in the game, the pressure was off Ron to produce and it was Caleb who simply stepped up. How frustrating must it have been for Caleb to get those two early fouls which sort of negated his game. When Caleb was back in he made up for lost time converting right away on old fashion 3 point play to start the 2nd half. Caleb had 5 boards and 4 assists and it is safe to say the Caleb we saw in November is no longer. Ditto for Paul. Paul with a quietly solid game getting in with a 3 in the first half, only 7 points but a whopping 7 assists with just one turnover and really had some great vision especially in cruch time in distributing a 3 to Geo and a big dunk by Cliff. How about Big Cliff. Listen Dickinson got most of what he wanted tonight. Cliff just could not handle him but the keys were Cliff stayed out of foul trouble until late. Cliff played a whopping 35 minutes which might be a career high. He struggled with his shot, I think 4 of them might have come on one possession, yet Cliff with 12 boards was one of the key reasons why Michigan was basically one and done especially in the first half. Cliff has come along way. He will have better offensive nights and easier bigs to guard. He bent but did not break tonight. Its a big step for him.

Give props to Hyatt because those buckets he made, Rutgers really needed in those moments, 17 points, 6 points, 5 rebounds. RU sorely needs a couple of guys off the bench to be able to hit those open shots. I think Hyatt's first two plays were dribbles off his leg. In the game. It appeared like Hyatt just trying too much as we have seen before but after that he really settled in and those jumpers were smooth. Its a step in the right direction for him. Also a shout to Dean Reiber...just 4 minutes but took a shot., made his free throws and then was able to come in late for defense to sub for Cliff. Thats all we could ask, role playing minutes where he does not hurt the team. Miller at 8 minutes showed some defensive intensity and Jones with just 5, I think all in the first half didnt factor in at all but you know what, with Michigan playing just 7 or 8. I do not think it was a game where either frosh should have been counted on for anything. Mag got popped in the mouth again apparently and lost some teeth so we will have to see how that plays out going forward. He is a guy we are really going to need because he really gives those important energy minutes.

Of course the coaching staff needs some plaudits as well. Pike kept his team together during the covid situation, eased them in with two cupcake type outings and now everyone seems in game ready shape and I like that he was willing to extend Geo to 39 minutes and Cliff to 35. Certainly not a blueprint for every game but there are games where you have to lean on your best players. By hook or crook, the past 4 games, Pike is doing an outstanding job of getting the most of his team. What impressed me about tonight is he has his players back to rebounding. Nifty to watch was RU seemed to try and bother the ball handler sometimes doubling them, sure it gave some easy looks to Dickinson and then Housten in the 2nd half but I liked the aggressiveness. Night and day from November. Michigan seemed to move away from taking the 3 after having very little success in the first half.

Do not know exactly what happened at the end of the game before the handshakes but damn I like our team especially Ron not backing down. All game long we were the tougher team and after the game was over, we still were, while the lasting image of the Wolverines was an flailing Diabate? being heavily restrained to howling jeers from the RU faithful. These are the kind of moments you live for at the RAC which suddenly has regained its mojo. Big credit to the fanbase, had to be around 7K there which surprised me given all the restrictions and covid lurking. The long and twisting road of college basketball. Rutgers incredibly finding their way back to what they were and giving the fans perhaps a little more to add to the story.

Great job Bac..

At your absolute best after basketball games, especially wins.

But… “plaudits”???

What a coup!!
 
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BillyC80

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Good recap bac, as usual (minor typo, Hyatt had 17 minutes not points). One of the things I love about this team is that, even though we’re not deep, our bench guys find a way to make a positive contribution.

Reiber, Miller, Mag and especially Hyatt last night, and other nights we’ve seen a glimpse of Palmquist, Jones and Agee (honorable mention to Luke Nathan). Much credit to those guys but also to Pike and the coaches, for having them ready to make their contributions when called upon.
 
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RUKnights86

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The development of recruiting to your system is having Cliff or Reiber able and willing to take those perimeter shots, vs having a Shaq Doorson or others who are left open and just not comfortable with that shot.

If Reiber keeps working on that shot, teams are going to give him that look....a wide open look, if he makes it, you are stealing points that the scouting reports tell our opponents that RU won't score from that part of the floor.

Mulcahy took a Top of the arc 3 and he has not hit those until this year.....his 3s have been on the wings and corners.....credit to Mulcahy for improving on shooting from that part of the floor....

I will take my chances with Reiber in that spot....same with Cliff.....those will completely change how good RU can be, if we knock down a couple of those a game.

Absolutely agree, that is the next phase of Cliff's game to really make him an even bigger threat to teams. We have seen him hit a few 10-12ft shots with a pretty effortless release so we know he has the shot in his bag, but if he can develop a shot with some consistency, teams will have to start respecting it and that will draw the big out of the paint and open up the floor even more. I did not like the 3 that Cliff took in the 1st half when we were up and cold a little, but I do like his confidence to shoot. Between that and working on his touch around the rim (more arc on his hook rather than a line drive), that will increase his shooting percentage as well and make him an even bigger threat offensively. All things considered, love the progress from Cliff and its fun to watch him grow game after game.
 

robjknight

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Last year someone questioned whether Paul was a B1G caliber player and would not routinely have 7 assists games like he did in high school. I think Paul is quietly putting that to rest.
Great recap Bac.
 
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rufeelinit

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The Michigan was missing guys is irrelevant, the bench players were not starters and other than Brandon Johns, none are impact players based on their 1st 12 games....RU and their starters beat Michigan and their starters from start to finish. It may have been closer if they had a full roster, it also could have been a 20 point rout if Cliff made a couple of short shots and we hit some more FTs....
We can disagree on it being irrelevant.
 

Greene Rice FIG

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If I am a Michigan fan....how does Rutgers get away with Mulcahy guarding Houstan for most of the night?

So much emphasis on Dickinson played right in to our hands.
 
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ru66

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Don't be an ass.

Bac's recaps are one of the few things that keep me coming back periodically to check out this board. If you're not interested in reading them, then don't read them.
I don't read them anymore. They are inconsistent and blow with the wind depending on a win or loss. Bandwagon comments
 
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Groz

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Jul 28, 2001
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Find your way back.....Geo, Pikiell, shotmakers, the defense, toughness, the RAC, the Rutgers we grew up on.....vintage experience tonight.



Tremendous win tonight. Perhaps to me one of the most satisfying wins since joining the Big Ten. The last monkey around the programs neck was finally removed. The woes of RU vs Michigan go way back to the deflating Final 4 defeat, continued through a tough NIT championship loss in front of a partisan RU crowd at MSG and then carrying over 9 straight conference losses none more disappointing was the Wolverines handing RU their only loss at the RAC in 2020. Winless in 13 tries vs perhaps the biggest name school in the conference, tonight presented perhaps the best opportunity for a win. A talented yet young and wobbly Michigan team who has struggled to find any identity this season seemed ripe for the picking. In a pregame thread leading up to this game, I said this was going to be a measuring stick game for both programs. I think what we saw tonight was Rutgers at its best. The Geo and Ron show, the dynamic duo giving us more of what we craved from that glorious breakthrough season in 2020. Something that had been missing for so long. The Purdue win was glorious in its own right because of the miracle finish and knocking off a # 1 win. That was historical. That was threading the needle. Beating Michigan tonight was historical. Beating Michigan by thoroughly dominating them in every facet of the game up and down the stat line and really not even being challenged was impressive. RU won because they kicked Michigan ass. They outrebounded them, they outshot them, they defended better, they intimidated them, they were more physical. Pike and company outcoached, outprepared and outmotivated Howard and his crew. This was winning in such a satisfying manner. This wasn't Rutgers getting out to a big lead and trying to hold on. This was Rutgers sustaining a full 40 minutes.

True, Michigan is not a top 25 school this year and may or may not even contend for a NCAA berth by seasons end but its not about them, its about us. Nothing will ever be able to remove the stain of losing to Lafayette. Not even beating #1 Purdue. The rocky start to the season left RU not even thinking about NCAA but just thinking about winning the next game. What we have learned from Rutgers is in its 4 game stretch vs Clemson, Purdue, SHU and Michigan is you can probably toss into the dumpster what you thought of the team back in November. This is not the same team and its quite clear that several players have shook off an inexplicable rough start to the season. The core 5 are playing as well as they can right now. When Geo and Ron are in sync, Rutgers can beat anyone on its schedule. If RU could play all its games at the RAC, it would compete for the Big 10 championship. Alas this team also has glaring flaws and it all revolves around depth. Yet during this 4 game stretch, Pike and his charges have done a yeomen's job of hiding these deficiencies. For all the handwringing about recruiting and rotations, he has proven why he is the paid coach and we are just bums throwing out our frustrations on a message board. As we approached December, it was getting late early for this program. As we get to the first weekend in December maybe just maybe the mantra of one game at a time. Day by day, game by game improvement is the elixir to navigate through the Big 10 landscape. The old cliche says "its not where you started but its where you end"

The game itself was full of plays. As said in earlier recaps, players make plays. Geo a sort of vindication for him tonight. A really uneven start to the year, some brutal performances vs weak competition then missing time from a hamstring injury, hit by the flu, did not even play vs Purdue and now tonight Geo floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee. Absolutely deadly tonight. Vintage Geo Baker tonight.....39 minutes, 10-15 shooting, 5-7 from 3, 27 points, 4 boards, 4 assists in a whopping 39 minutes. One of his best games ever as a Knight and a true testament for refocusing his season after missing time and being the Geo that he and every RU fan knows he can be. Again you cannot expect sick lines like this all the time but a locked in Geo is what we ask for. Shots will not always fall but focus and leadership is key. How Geo goes is often how Rutgers goes moreso than Ron even. Its a big reason that we sputtered early on. Geo succeeding helps everyone else on the team succeed including the bench which needs to contribute. The energy is contagious to everyone else. Even guys like Miller and Jones who did not play much tonight are helped by watching and playing with Geo. Lead by example for someone has been hard on Geo, he needs to get a ton of praise for how he has comeback and elevated his game. Tonight was almost effortless for him yet some of those jumpers were not easy shots. They were made with breezy confidence. So sweet to watch some of those highlights in the 2nd half. I think he had about 3 very key shots in key moments, the kind of shots that allowed RU to sustain double digit leads none more important his 3 when Michigan went on a small run to cut the lead to 8 with about 5 minutes to go and then another with about 3 to go that put RU up 70-59 and likely was the final dagger needed and Geo followed that up with a key rebound. Just a superlative game and could be deserving of a Big 10 player of the week honor depending on what he does vs Nebby

Geo could not do it alone of course. The 2nd half of the dynamic duo Ron Harper was even more deadly from 3, draining 5 of his 6. Ron struggled with his 2s and finished 7-13 but with 20 points and 6 boards, a very strong defensive effort tonight. Ron was more effective scoring in the first half but better defensively in the 2nd. Ron's flurry of 3s in the first half allowed RU to get that breathing room they never relinquished. I think a key Ron bucket was late in the first half where RU was struggling offensively. When Ron and Geo are scoring over 20 each, RU is a tough out but I was impressed with Harper's defense tonight as well. With Caleb back in the game, the pressure was off Ron to produce and it was Caleb who simply stepped up. How frustrating must it have been for Caleb to get those two early fouls which sort of negated his game. When Caleb was back in he made up for lost time converting right away on old fashion 3 point play to start the 2nd half. Caleb had 5 boards and 4 assists and it is safe to say the Caleb we saw in November is no longer. Ditto for Paul. Paul with a quietly solid game getting in with a 3 in the first half, only 7 points but a whopping 7 assists with just one turnover and really had some great vision especially in cruch time in distributing a 3 to Geo and a big dunk by Cliff. How about Big Cliff. Listen Dickinson got most of what he wanted tonight. Cliff just could not handle him but the keys were Cliff stayed out of foul trouble until late. Cliff played a whopping 35 minutes which might be a career high. He struggled with his shot, I think 4 of them might have come on one possession, yet Cliff with 12 boards was one of the key reasons why Michigan was basically one and done especially in the first half. Cliff has come along way. He will have better offensive nights and easier bigs to guard. He bent but did not break tonight. Its a big step for him.

Give props to Hyatt because those buckets he made, Rutgers really needed in those moments, 17 min, 6 points, 5 rebounds. RU sorely needs a couple of guys off the bench to be able to hit those open shots. I think Hyatt's first two plays were dribbles off his leg. In the game. It appeared like Hyatt just trying too much as we have seen before but after that he really settled in and those jumpers were smooth. Its a step in the right direction for him. Also a shout to Dean Reiber...just 4 minutes but took a shot., made his free throws and then was able to come in late for defense to sub for Cliff. Thats all we could ask, role playing minutes where he does not hurt the team. Miller at 8 minutes showed some defensive intensity and Jones with just 5, I think all in the first half didnt factor in at all but you know what, with Michigan playing just 7 or 8. I do not think it was a game where either frosh should have been counted on for anything. Mag got popped in the mouth again apparently and lost some teeth so we will have to see how that plays out going forward. He is a guy we are really going to need because he really gives those important energy minutes.

Of course the coaching staff needs some plaudits as well. Pike kept his team together during the covid situation, eased them in with two cupcake type outings and now everyone seems in game ready shape and I like that he was willing to extend Geo to 39 minutes and Cliff to 35. Certainly not a blueprint for every game but there are games where you have to lean on your best players. By hook or crook, the past 4 games, Pike is doing an outstanding job of getting the most of his team. What impressed me about tonight is he has his players back to rebounding. Nifty to watch was RU seemed to try and bother the ball handler sometimes doubling them, sure it gave some easy looks to Dickinson and then Housten in the 2nd half but I liked the aggressiveness. Night and day from November. Michigan seemed to move away from taking the 3 after having very little success in the first half.

Do not know exactly what happened at the end of the game before the handshakes but damn I like our team especially Ron not backing down. All game long we were the tougher team and after the game was over, we still were, while the lasting image of the Wolverines was an flailing Diabate? being heavily restrained to howling jeers from the RU faithful. These are the kind of moments you live for at the RAC which suddenly has regained its mojo. Big credit to the fanbase, had to be around 7K there which surprised me given all the restrictions and covid lurking. The long and twisting road of college basketball. Rutgers incredibly finding their way back to what they were and giving the fans perhaps a little more to add to the story.

Excellent recap as usual Bac.

Games like this kind of make me mad at Geo because he is so very talented and should be doing tonight's overall game so much more throughout his career. Maybe this is the start of doing it almost every night.(not talking about his shooting, talking about his overall play)

Best of Luck,
Groz
 
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NewJerseyHawk

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We can disagree on it being irrelevant.

Look at the stat lines of the players who didn't play.....and tell me which player missing, was going to play over any of the Michigan starters.....Michigan had their entire starting lineup intact.

I could say Mag lost some teeth and played 2 minutes and Agee missed the last 2 games and wasn't ready to play and say "well, RU didn't have their full arsenal....

Michigan is essentially all 4 and 5* players on their roster......I'm not giving them the excuse of what the BS announcers during the game want to throw out there....RU dominated from start to finish....it's OK to say RU played better or was better without some asterisk next to why they beat Michigan.....
 

bac2therac

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Look at the stat lines of the players who didn't play.....and tell me which player missing, was going to play over any of the Michigan starters.....Michigan had their entire starting lineup intact.

I could say Mag lost some teeth and played 2 minutes and Agee missed the last 2 games and wasn't ready to play and say "well, RU didn't have their full arsenal....

Michigan is essentially all 4 and 5* players on their roster......I'm not giving them the excuse of what the BS announcers during the game want to throw out there....RU dominated from start to finish....it's OK to say RU played better or was better without some asterisk next to why they beat Michigan.....


agree with you as well. The Michigan players that were out while they hurt them a bit in depth really were not big contributors and while Johns starts he has been ineffective. RU has gone through similar things this year and last with injuries, heck we beat Purdue without Geo the past 2 seasons. In the end its really irrelevant that those players were out and I didnt bother to even mention it in my recap. There really was no excuse for Michigan. I just think Rutgers is better at this time.
 

cm_13

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Aug 28, 2018
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Nice to beat Michigan. We shot it well and seemed energized. While you prefaced some of your remarks by indicating this was about RU and not UM, I think the recap would have been more balanced to at least acknowledge how many guys UM was missing last night. Johns in particular has been a thorn in our side during past games. Certainly that point was not missed in the Post write-up I read this morning whose headline was RU finally beating a depleted UM Team.

Good win. Lets make sure this effort is sustained and that there are no slip ups against the likes of Nebraska on Saturday.
This stood out to me the most. The guys seemed to be having fun out there and we’re playing loose and with confidence. Body language gets discussed a lot on here, the confidence and the swag was evident watching these guys play last night. Hope they can keep that rolling.
 
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