This game was one for the annals tonight. One that will be written on the beams of the trapezoid walls of the RAC perhaps most akin to the Temple win in the 88-89 season. There may be have been higher ranked opponents taken down. There may have been more dramatic last second finishes. There may have been better played games. But has there ever been in the aftermath of a game that you just got the sense that the foul, permeating and almost everlasting stench of that revolting "Same Old Rutgers" was banished for good to the bowels of the RAC. The importance of this game can not be diminished. The who's, the how's, the why's and what was done was enormous tonight. Penn State is a very very good team. An incredibly physical and tough team that impose its will on you. Not going to shoot you out of the building but they will take you out of your game and choke and throttle you until you wave the white flag. Penn State did exactly that for a good 15 minutes or so of the first half. It was RU on the big stage yet again, in a spot we have seen maybe dozen of times ready to take the next step program wise but coming up flat with a big stinky egg. It certainly seemed like that is what we were going to get but its amazing this team has the ability to hang in and to borrow some other peoples phrases "pound nails". In the end, it was Rutgers running away with the game while the Lions limped back to their den. The Nittany Lions really snuffed out the RAC crowd with that defense which was huge as you could tell the difference in the confidence of Rutgers players as the crowd got more into it, especially toward the end of the first half. But geez RU 's first four possessions were turnovers. They had 6 turnovers before even hitting their first fg which didnt even happen until 12:26 left in the game. Somehow RU just found themselves down 12-6 because there defensive effort was superlative and it just got better and better as the game wore on. A key juncture RU faced was 24-14 with about 5 to go but RU responded...some big free throws by Shaq Carter and Caleb made some incredibly important assists to Myles and Ron in the paint that seemed to spark the offense. It would be Jacob Young though fouled on a missed 3 who made two there, hit two more and got a layup that cut the lead to 27-24 and from then on, the RU offense settled in and shook off the anemic start. Somehow despite playing so below par, RU was just down 33-28, not that bad of a spot to be but a look at the stat line saw a big hurdle to overcome. RU was outrebounded 23-17 in the first half. They allowed Watkins to just dominate the post going 7-7 and allowing PSU just too many 2nd chances. The final stats show RU outrebounded PSU 43-36. RU outrebounded the Lions an incredible 26-13 in the 2nd half...are you kidding me. Mike Watkins finished 7-8 for the game and only a couple of foul shots in the 2nd half. He was totally made a non entity by some incredible defense by Myles, Shaq, Yeboah as well as the guards hitting the boards. Such an incredible turnaround. I didnt hear the post game from Pike yet so I do not know what was said in that lockerroom to change things but this was a totally different Rutgers on both ends of the court. The dominance in rebounding gave RU some better shots at being aggressive and attacking rather than setlling into the half court. But on offense, it seemed like RU who had guys in the first half driving into trees only to miss badly seemed to really seem to corrected their court vision. They found their spots where they had some clear lane. They hung around the basket where they were able to rebound and get some putbacks. I thought overall it was important to come out strong to the 2nd half and RU obviously got the message with that 7-0 spurt. Seemingly the two teams would go through a stretch where they traded daggers with one another. What a great game to watch as both teams just matched each other in slugfest that reminded you of a tournament game. Thats what makes Penn State tough, that is who they are, they do not go away quietly. But do not underestimate Rutgers, how many times have you watched this same type of game in the RAC where RU fades away as their offense goes south. But Jacob Young kept coming. That 3 wasnt pretty but evoked memories of Earl Johnson vs SJU at MSG. RU suddenly up 6 but Stevens kept coming, Jacob would answer, the all of sudden Myron Jones of PSU got hot with 10 points in just 90 seconds and suddenly RU was done 51-49 There were two key moments after that that just altered the course of this game and pushed it to the Rutgers ledger. Montez Mathis came up big with a step in 3 that gave RU a 52-51 lead, a lead that they would never relinquish. Jones could not hit his counter, in fact Jones shot himself out of the game missing his last 4 shots before he made a worthless 3 in the first minute. Montez followed this up with two more buckets by hanging around the basket on the first and following his miss on the 2nd. Montez completely played within himself in the 2nd half, a stark contrast to his first half play. When he plays like this he is a total x factor for this team. A very difficult guard to defend. That little burst of points was at a critical juncture and paved the way for next man up....Ron Harper Jr. Ron became THE MAN tonight for his play over the course of about 3 minutes where he was unstoppable around the rim and drained every single one of his 8 free throws in that stretch . It was likely his dipsy do to push the lead to 64-54 plus the Jacob Young steal leading to more Harper free throws that pounded the final nail in the Nittany Lions coffins. All of a suddent RU was pouring it on, a tight game was not even close. This Rutgers team was swelling up....swole some might say. They were getting better and better in the closing minutes while Penn State spirit was broken. They had lost their fight as it was RU throttling and stepping on their throats, laying haymaker after haymaker. Same Old Rutgers my ass Make no mistake such a team effort. The loss of Geo was very evident in the opening half. RU still is a better team with him. Today EVERYONE chipped in. All about roles and playing within their abilities. Sneaky good was Caleb who was just really bad offensively early but contributed in other ways....8 boards and 4 assists...big time and underappreciated. Shaq Carter 11 minutes, 6 pts, 3 boards, 1 block 2-2 ft....accepting his role. How about Paul Mulcahy 31 freakin minutes, 5 assists, zero turnovers, 4 boards, 2 steals. Its just amazing how far he has developed in just a few games. He was incredibly comfortable out there from the get go vs tough physical PSU guards. Remember the Pitt game, he looked like he wouldnt be ready for anything. His confidence and vision is one of the biggest reasons RU is succeeding without Geo...and I love he doesnt have to provide offense but he can and they know he can. Jacob Young now 3 games in a row of calm confident heady play. It is safe to say he has turned the corner. I have no idea what happened here but I will not question it. How dangerous is Rutgers with Young on the court, he is making it easier for every other guy on the court to get their offense going. I am convinced that the Big 10 coaches the last 2 games have slept on him. I think the secret is out but no problem we have plenty of options. Yeboah and Myles certainly quieter offensively but damn their defense was good and PSU ended up frustrated and settled for some ill advised outside shots. That Watkins only took 1 or 2 shots in the 2nd half..are you kidding me. Myles ended up with 10, I didnt like his play earlier when he airballed a layup, second half he was back to his old self again and yes he can play against top competition. RAC crowd...we are getting there. The first half wasnt a good half of RU hoops so the fans understandably never got into it but in the 2nd half, the RAC came alive and you can just see how it energizes the team and elevates their play. Really good moments in the 2nd half with fans on their feet even in the 200 and 300s levels. The noise on defense is starting to approach the levels of the Waters years. We still have 8 home games to go so alot of practice to fine tune everybody. I expect at least 6 more sellouts going forward hopefully starting with Indiana. The crowd matters at this level when you need to win every game....11 game win streak at home, wow Oh so where was I......oh yeah Same Ole Rutgers...yeah bye bitch. Its just different this time. And yes there will be losses and I think its likely they lose at Illinois. SHU could be chalked up to a fluky rival win, Wisconsin is a solid enough win but not overwhelming, well Penn State, now its 3 and this could be the best team of the 3. How about the way these wins are won...going away, swelling up, not hanging on to win by 2 or 3, not surviving a last second Bryant three. No we seem to be in some rarified air here.How do you get to be a post season team? It all happens quick and you do not really realize where you are until you are in it. Moving up the escalator to the penthouse and there is no thought of turning bac.