GAME 7 Clemson: Just what we needed

bac2therac

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Jul 30, 2001
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Now that is more like it!

For the first time this season, we really saw the Rutgers we thought we knew. The team we expected coming off of two NCAA tourney seasons*. Honestly the team has been dreadful at the RAC for the home slate thus far sleepwalking and playing purposelessly against lower level schools and the Lafayette defeat was one of the worst losses in RAC history in the 21st century. The impact of the loss of Myles, JY, and Mathis has beaten to death but quite frankly there is more than enough talent remaining to have been 6-0 coming into last night. The disappointment starts of several upperclassmen really impacted the growth of the entire team meaning the newcomers either were not getting minutes or were thrust in situations where they had to perform or get yanked. Not a good situation all around. How could the new guys integrate themselves in a positive way when the example from the upperclassmen is so poor in decision making and effort. Its not too much to ask for leadership and energy against the likes of Lafayette and Lehigh so I think the vitriol toward the players and coaching staff was a bit justified. No one was making up how bad it was, the results spoke for themselves. With three quick bad losses and down a guy in Geo, RU came into last night absolutely sputtering.

Last night felt a little different before tipoff, first big name opponent..ie real school at the RAC. a situation where the RAC thrives. Remember its been since the Maryland game back in early March 2020 where RU was going to be in a juiced environment. Even with the recent struggles, the RAC crowd led by the students were very willing from the get go and immediately you could tell the players had more in their step than we had seen maybe in the previous 3 games combines. The RAC and players were working symbiotically. It started to feel like 2020 in spots. No Clemson isnt Maryland and yes the place was not even full and yes there have been so many crowds that have been louder. But for this place, this night, this game, this situation the program finds itself in, this was just what the fans needed , just what the players needed and just what the fans needed.


What we saw last night was an indication that there is indeed fight left in this team, the staff and the fanbase. Let me tell you last night was an absolute enjoyable and pleasurable experience at the RAC. Two pretty evenly matched schools, both struggling a bit from their NCAA seasons in a rematch where Rutgers really played a very very solid 40 minutes of basketball. Teams win basketball games by making plays. Rutgers lost the last 3 games because their opponents were making more plays than them. RU was never getting the impact stops on defense and on the offensive end sputtered in key stretches. This group of players desperately needed to figure out how to win a game. You wouldnt think a team with NCAA experience would have this issue but they were back at square one. Relearning what it takes to win...effort, energy..playmaking..confidence and they did it with a little help from their friends at the RAC.

Last night was all about playmaking for Rutgers and there was so many key moments that were crucial in this victory last night. No one had time to be upset with Caleb McConnell taking a long jumper 7 seconds into the shot clock because it went in....and the crowd went wild and we were off. Tone setting early, RU was active getting out to a 6-0 lead and you knew things would be different tonight. After that there was a lot of back and forth and a 5 minute sequence where both schools sputtered offensively but both playing pretty good defensively. RU has traditionally not been very efficient at closing out first half especially in a few earlier games at the RAC this year but man did they pick a right time to make some shots. Back to back to back three pointers for Rutgers was pivotal in RU taking charge in this game and they would basically never look back. In the last 2:30, Harper, Hyatt and Caleb drained 3s and suddenly RU found themselves up 8, 33-25 and going into the lockerroom with confidence. For a team that was just 2-9 in the game prior and whose futility in prior games is well documated, I dont know if it was luck or what but big time shots.

2nd half sees Harper with a dunk and foul shot and all over sudden RU up 11 and taking control and Ron would continue to be aggressive the rest of the half. Then Clemson punches back with their own back to back 3s and a layup and all of sudden the lead is down to 1. Critical gut check moment for RU with a ton of time left, in its previous losses, RU seemed to fold when their opponents made their runs. Were we looking at another collapse again. Nope, Ron Harper Jr was not going to let that happen. Of all the returning players Ron has been the least culpable of criticism for this seasons slow start. However Ron did struggle the 2nd half of Lafayette and UMass and those are the kind of spots you look for your senior leader to step up so it was disappointing to see. Ron drained two 3s sandwiched around a rare non dunk fg for Cliff and RU was back up 7. Ron was confident and setting the example for rest of his teammates. Keep your head up and keep working hard. Leading by example because RU would need it as Clemson hung around and hung around cutting the lead to 4 several times. But watching, I felt confident. I thought RU never lost control in this game. They were indeed the better team and when the Clemson center Hall fouled out with 4 minutes there was no looking back.

Players make plays. Ron Harper Jr made plays...made many plays. 23 points on 8-13 shooting, 4-6 from 3, with 9 rebounds just missing on a double double. His teammates followed his lead. Caleb for all the criticism had a very very good game and his shot was back, smooth and much needed a couple of times late. Paul to Cliff for a monster dunk was another key conversion. You have to make plays to win. Rutgers was making them all at critical junctures something they didnt do when they blew a big lead at UMass. But the play of the game was the Harper drive to the hoop to foul out Hall...the and one put RU up 7. Bravo to Ron for realizing he needed to take over as he is quite capable of doing. With Hall gone, we went right to Cliff who on back to back possession and yet another dunk to go up 67-59 basically sealed it. Caleb would make some free throws down the stretch and team collectively played solid D in harrassing Clemson who could not put any kind of desperate comeback together.

I am trying to remember the exact possession where Caleb..I think it was him, just grabbed the ball right from Tyson, think very late in the game. It was that kind of night for Caleb who finished with 16 points, 6 rebounds on 5-7 shooting. Look I have been as tough as anyone on Caleb so really have to give him all the credit in the world for this performance. There were a couple of bad plays he did have in trying to do too much but I felt he was much more focuses and consciously worked on being smarter with his shot selection and seemed extremely confident on defense. Its one game and again does not change my thinking that we cannot rely on Caleb every night as our 2nd or even third offensive option. The trick for Pike is to figure out just how to use him without forcing him to do too much.

Cliff only 23 minutes, I think Hall had the better of him but Cliff still came up big late and did get 9 boards. We all project him as more advanced than he is but we have to be understanding he still is quite young in his development. If we can get him the ball in his sweet spot, its almost an automatic bucket. Cliff in the next two games will be tested beyond belief with Cockburn and the 7ft2 Purdue guy.

I thought Mulcahy deferred offensively to Caleb and Ron and I am okay with that. Long term its not going to be a good thing to have to ride Mulcahy for a last second shot to win a game like we did at Umass. Paul will do what he does best. Be scrappy and see the court. 7 assists and 7 boards a very sneaky good stat line last night.

I thought everyone played well, even those who stats were not all that hot. Experience against a real team matters for the younger players. Hyatt after two disappointing games where his minutes were cut was very productive and active last night. 11 points on 3-6 shooting, 21 minutes really filling his role .Jaden Jones shot from 3 is way off right now but I am still encouraged by his jumpers for 2. I think if we can get him off that 3 point line and try to get him inside he can have very productive nights for RU. Mag didnt have much to his shot last night but he is providing energy and his length defensively can be a strength going forward. Agee still struggling defensively but still giving minutes to rest Cliff and thats all we can ask for right now.

Then we have Jalen Miller. Two theories before the game based on him not playing, he is riding pine because he is that bad and far behind or Pike wanted to redshirt him. Honestly to me redshirting in this day and age seems like a counter productive decision. Vehemently disagree that Pike felt that this was a good plan and with Geo out Jalen certainly should have been brought out for the Umass game. Water under the bridge now. Jalen was unleased and looks like he has some energy. Right away you saw it in the way he defended and he got that nice little drive to the hoop late for his first points. Going to be interesting to watch his development and not sure Pike is going to throw him that many minutes with the wolves of Illinois and Purdue coming up.

Have to give tons of credit to Coach Pike, a few tweaks, less stubborness and probably some good practices sure did help him out after a really rough week and half. I still think the talent is limited a bit so he really is going to pull his hair out figuring out the right combinations and rotations and just who he wants to trust the most especially when Geo comes. This year may end up being about the future rather than the now when all is said and done. I cannot speak to why we looked better without Geo than we did with him. Its a controversial subject here for some reason but its worth for discussion because when Geo comes back, he is going to have to follow Ron's lead for RU to be successful.

Everyone needed this win. We as fans needed to feel good, the players needed to learn that they can win, the coaching staff needed to know they still got it. I do not know what this means going forward. I can say right now, the program really needs to take one game at a time, We will know by the end of the month which direction the season is going. The next 3 games are extremely difficult. I had them losing all 3 of them even in my optimistic 20-11 NCAA season prediction. RU cannot change their 4-3 record, what's done is done, we will find out soon enough whether that stretch of 3 losses is too much to overcome. What the program can take from last night is that when RU brings it they can play a solid 40 minutes that can at least compete with decent programs. Its a step in the right direction because I dont think RU was necessarily competing prior to this game. Rutgers stopped the bleeding, stopped the negativity and finally we felt good about the program that has given us so much joy for the past 2 seasons. For now savor it, the Big 10 is going to be unforgiving.
 

Greene Rice FIG

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We are going to disagree. Credit for Pike for how he has coached all season for this game. Pike isn't putting a band aid on our defensive woes. Making newcomers earn playing time with effort and D finally paid dividends.

Having said that Hyatt and Jones have a long way to go. The reason I want Geo back is to take their minutes. Hyatt's defense last night (along with Paul) was not close to where they need to be. Caleb was terrific on Honor. Ron took 2 charges.
 

Greene Rice FIG

Hall of Famer
Dec 30, 2005
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BAC...you forgot this...

I don't mind you coming here
And wasting all my time
Cause when you're standing oh so near
I kinda lose my mind
It's not the perfume that you wear
It's not the ribbons in your hair
And I don't mind you coming here
And wasting all my time
 

RUPete

Hall of Famer
Feb 5, 2003
21,771
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Great recap. Can’t argue with any of it. Can we keep this up against the gauntlet we are facing? We will see. You make a great point about Jaden Jones. The three has looked bad to date, but when he steps in a bit, the shot looks smooth. I think he’ll be fine.
 

bac2therac

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Jul 30, 2001
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We are going to disagree. Credit for Pike for how he has coached all season for this game. Pike isn't putting a band aid on our defensive woes. Making newcomers earn playing time with effort and D finally paid dividends.

Having said that Hyatt and Jones have a long way to go. The reason I want Geo back is to take their minutes. Hyatt's defense last night (along with Paul) was not close to where they need to be. Caleb was terrific on Honor. Ron took 2 charges.


we are not winning many games if Geo is bringing what he brought vs Lafayette, Merrimack and Lehigh and we are relying on him, Caleb and Paul to do everything backing up Ron

we desperately need quality minutes from Jaden, Hyatt, and Mag
 

bac2therac

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Great recap. Can’t argue with any of it. Can we keep this up against the gauntlet we are facing? We will see. You make a great point about Jaden Jones. The three has looked bad to date, but when he steps in a bit, the shot looks smooth. I think he’ll be fine.


yeah i want some set shots specifically run for him away from the 3 pt line, he is always going to have that 3 available to him
 
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bac2therac

Legend
Gold Member
Jul 30, 2001
191,570
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BAC...you forgot this...

I don't mind you coming here
And wasting all my time
Cause when you're standing oh so near
I kinda lose my mind
It's not the perfume that you wear
It's not the ribbons in your hair
And I don't mind you coming here
And wasting all my time


we the fans needs this team no matter what they do to us
 
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BigEastPhil

Heisman Winner
Gold Member
Nov 25, 2007
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What I liked last night:

- Harper leadership and rebounding. He took charge.

- Thought Cliff played well and was looking to do more than simply dunk. Love how he rebounds with his hands above his head.

- Miller toughness and defensive prowess

- Thought Caleb; Mulcahy all played within themselves. Didn’t try to do too much

- Team successfully closed out a game.

- Terrific defensive effort guarding 3s and limiting Hall and Honor etc.


Constructive Criticisms:

- 3 point shooting still sub par

- Sub par FT shooting

- Agee. And what was that shot about towards end of game at top of key when game was still close?

- Hyatt getting beat on back door every game.
 

RUSCFORMERLYRULOU

All Conference
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Nov 12, 2017
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Now that is more like it!

For the first time this season, we really saw the Rutgers we thought we knew. The team we expected coming off of two NCAA tourney seasons*. Honestly the team has been dreadful at the RAC for the home slate thus far sleepwalking and playing purposelessly against lower level schools and the Lafayette defeat was one of the worst losses in RAC history in the 21st century. The impact of the loss of Myles, JY, and Mathis has beaten to death but quite frankly there is more than enough talent remaining to have been 6-0 coming into last night. The disappointment starts of several upperclassmen really impacted the growth of the entire team meaning the newcomers either were not getting minutes or were thrust in situations where they had to perform or get yanked. Not a good situation all around. How could the new guys integrate themselves in a positive way when the example from the upperclassmen is so poor in decision making and effort. Its not too much to ask for leadership and energy against the likes of Lafayette and Lehigh so I think the vitriol toward the players and coaching staff was a bit justified. No one was making up how bad it was, the results spoke for themselves. With three quick bad losses and down a guy in Geo, RU came into last night absolutely sputtering.

Last night felt a little different before tipoff, first big name opponent..ie real school at the RAC. a situation where the RAC thrives. Remember its been since the Maryland game back in early March 2020 where RU was going to be in a juiced environment. Even with the recent struggles, the RAC crowd led by the students were very willing from the get go and immediately you could tell the players had more in their step than we had seen maybe in the previous 3 games combines. The RAC and players were working symbiotically. It started to feel like 2020 in spots. No Clemson isnt Maryland and yes the place was not even full and yes there have been so many crowds that have been louder. But for this place, this night, this game, this situation the program finds itself in, this was just what the fans needed , just what the players needed and just what the fans needed.


What we saw last night was an indication that there is indeed fight left in this team, the staff and the fanbase. Let me tell you last night was an absolute enjoyable and pleasurable experience at the RAC. Two pretty evenly matched schools, both struggling a bit from their NCAA seasons in a rematch where Rutgers really played a very very solid 40 minutes of basketball. Teams win basketball games by making plays. Rutgers lost the last 3 games because their opponents were making more plays than them. RU was never getting the impact stops on defense and on the offensive end sputtered in key stretches. This group of players desperately needed to figure out how to win a game. You wouldnt think a team with NCAA experience would have this issue but they were back at square one. Relearning what it takes to win...effort, energy..playmaking..confidence and they did it with a little help from their friends at the RAC.

Last night was all about playmaking for Rutgers and there was so many key moments that were crucial in this victory last night. No one had time to be upset with Caleb McConnell taking a long jumper 7 seconds into the shot clock because it went in....and the crowd went wild and we were off. Tone setting early, RU was active getting out to a 6-0 lead and you knew things would be different tonight. After that there was a lot of back and forth and a 5 minute sequence where both schools sputtered offensively but both playing pretty good defensively. RU has traditionally not been very efficient at closing out first half especially in a few earlier games at the RAC this year but man did they pick a right time to make some shots. Back to back to back three pointers for Rutgers was pivotal in RU taking charge in this game and they would basically never look back. In the last 2:30, Harper, Hyatt and Caleb drained 3s and suddenly RU found themselves up 8, 33-25 and going into the lockerroom with confidence. For a team that was just 2-9 in the game prior and whose futility in prior games is well documated, I dont know if it was luck or what but big time shots.

2nd half sees Harper with a dunk and foul shot and all over sudden RU up 11 and taking control and Ron would continue to be aggressive the rest of the half. Then Clemson punches back with their own back to back 3s and a layup and all of sudden the lead is down to 1. Critical gut check moment for RU with a ton of time left, in its previous losses, RU seemed to fold when their opponents made their runs. Were we looking at another collapse again. Nope, Ron Harper Jr was not going to let that happen. Of all the returning players Ron has been the least culpable of criticism for this seasons slow start. However Ron did struggle the 2nd half of Lafayette and UMass and those are the kind of spots you look for your senior leader to step up so it was disappointing to see. Ron drained two 3s sandwiched around a rare non dunk fg for Cliff and RU was back up 7. Ron was confident and setting the example for rest of his teammates. Keep your head up and keep working hard. Leading by example because RU would need it as Clemson hung around and hung around cutting the lead to 4 several times. But watching, I felt confident. I thought RU never lost control in this game. They were indeed the better team and when the Clemson center Hall fouled out with 4 minutes there was no looking back.

Players make plays. Ron Harper Jr made plays...made many plays. 23 points on 8-13 shooting, 4-6 from 3, with 9 rebounds just missing on a double double. His teammates followed his lead. Caleb for all the criticism had a very very good game and his shot was back, smooth and much needed a couple of times late. Paul to Cliff for a monster dunk was another key conversion. You have to make plays to win. Rutgers was making them all at critical junctures something they didnt do when they blew a big lead at UMass. But the play of the game was the Harper drive to the hoop to foul out Hall...the and one put RU up 7. Bravo to Ron for realizing he needed to take over as he is quite capable of doing. With Hall gone, we went right to Cliff who on back to back possession and yet another dunk to go up 67-59 basically sealed it. Caleb would make some free throws down the stretch and team collectively played solid D in harrassing Clemson who could not put any kind of desperate comeback together.

I am trying to remember the exact possession where Caleb..I think it was him, just grabbed the ball right from Tyson, think very late in the game. It was that kind of night for Caleb who finished with 16 points, 6 rebounds on 5-7 shooting. Look I have been as tough as anyone on Caleb so really have to give him all the credit in the world for this performance. There were a couple of bad plays he did have in trying to do too much but I felt he was much more focuses and consciously worked on being smarter with his shot selection and seemed extremely confident on defense. Its one game and again does not change my thinking that we cannot rely on Caleb every night as our 2nd or even third offensive option. The trick for Pike is to figure out just how to use him without forcing him to do too much.

Cliff only 23 minutes, I think Hall had the better of him but Cliff still came up big late and did get 9 boards. We all project him as more advanced than he is but we have to be understanding he still is quite young in his development. If we can get him the ball in his sweet spot, its almost an automatic bucket. Cliff in the next two games will be tested beyond belief with Cockburn and the 7ft2 Purdue guy.

I thought Mulcahy deferred offensively to Caleb and Ron and I am okay with that. Long term its not going to be a good thing to have to ride Mulcahy for a last second shot to win a game like we did at Umass. Paul will do what he does best. Be scrappy and see the court. 7 assists and 7 boards a very sneaky good stat line last night.

I thought everyone played well, even those who stats were not all that hot. Experience against a real team matters for the younger players. Hyatt after two disappointing games where his minutes were cut was very productive and active last night. 11 points on 3-6 shooting, 21 minutes really filling his role .Jaden Jones shot from 3 is way off right now but I am still encouraged by his jumpers for 2. I think if we can get him off that 3 point line and try to get him inside he can have very productive nights for RU. Mag didnt have much to his shot last night but he is providing energy and his length defensively can be a strength going forward. Agee still struggling defensively but still giving minutes to rest Cliff and thats all we can ask for right now.

Then we have Jalen Miller. Two theories before the game based on him not playing, he is riding pine because he is that bad and far behind or Pike wanted to redshirt him. Honestly to me redshirting in this day and age seems like a counter productive decision. Vehemently disagree that Pike felt that this was a good plan and with Geo out Jalen certainly should have been brought out for the Umass game. Water under the bridge now. Jalen was unleased and looks like he has some energy. Right away you saw it in the way he defended and he got that nice little drive to the hoop late for his first points. Going to be interesting to watch his development and not sure Pike is going to throw him that many minutes with the wolves of Illinois and Purdue coming up.

Have to give tons of credit to Coach Pike, a few tweaks, less stubborness and probably some good practices sure did help him out after a really rough week and half. I still think the talent is limited a bit so he really is going to pull his hair out figuring out the right combinations and rotations and just who he wants to trust the most especially when Geo comes. This year may end up being about the future rather than the now when all is said and done. I cannot speak to why we looked better without Geo than we did with him. Its a controversial subject here for some reason but its worth for discussion because when Geo comes back, he is going to have to follow Ron's lead for RU to be successful.

Everyone needed this win. We as fans needed to feel good, the players needed to learn that they can win, the coaching staff needed to know they still got it. I do not know what this means going forward. I can say right now, the program really needs to take one game at a time, We will know by the end of the month which direction the season is going. The next 3 games are extremely difficult. I had them losing all 3 of them even in my optimistic 20-11 NCAA season prediction. RU cannot change their 4-3 record, what's done is done, we will find out soon enough whether that stretch of 3 losses is too much to overcome. What the program can take from last night is that when RU brings it they can play a solid 40 minutes that can at least compete with decent programs. Its a step in the right direction because I dont think RU was necessarily competing prior to this game. Rutgers stopped the bleeding, stopped the negativity and finally we felt good about the program that has given us so much joy for the past 2 seasons. For now savor it, the Big 10 is going to be unforgiving.
Good game analysis and yes, it felt good to win. But unfortunately, we have the potential to go 0 for three in the next three games. That’s why Lafpaulmass was such a cluster beep. Moreover until the team shows consistency I can’t get too excited about this win.
 
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RUDiddy777

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Now that is more like it!

For the first time this season, we really saw the Rutgers we thought we knew. The team we expected coming off of two NCAA tourney seasons*. Honestly the team has been dreadful at the RAC for the home slate thus far sleepwalking and playing purposelessly against lower level schools and the Lafayette defeat was one of the worst losses in RAC history in the 21st century. The impact of the loss of Myles, JY, and Mathis has beaten to death but quite frankly there is more than enough talent remaining to have been 6-0 coming into last night. The disappointment starts of several upperclassmen really impacted the growth of the entire team meaning the newcomers either were not getting minutes or were thrust in situations where they had to perform or get yanked. Not a good situation all around. How could the new guys integrate themselves in a positive way when the example from the upperclassmen is so poor in decision making and effort. Its not too much to ask for leadership and energy against the likes of Lafayette and Lehigh so I think the vitriol toward the players and coaching staff was a bit justified. No one was making up how bad it was, the results spoke for themselves. With three quick bad losses and down a guy in Geo, RU came into last night absolutely sputtering.

Last night felt a little different before tipoff, first big name opponent..ie real school at the RAC. a situation where the RAC thrives. Remember its been since the Maryland game back in early March 2020 where RU was going to be in a juiced environment. Even with the recent struggles, the RAC crowd led by the students were very willing from the get go and immediately you could tell the players had more in their step than we had seen maybe in the previous 3 games combines. The RAC and players were working symbiotically. It started to feel like 2020 in spots. No Clemson isnt Maryland and yes the place was not even full and yes there have been so many crowds that have been louder. But for this place, this night, this game, this situation the program finds itself in, this was just what the fans needed , just what the players needed and just what the fans needed.


What we saw last night was an indication that there is indeed fight left in this team, the staff and the fanbase. Let me tell you last night was an absolute enjoyable and pleasurable experience at the RAC. Two pretty evenly matched schools, both struggling a bit from their NCAA seasons in a rematch where Rutgers really played a very very solid 40 minutes of basketball. Teams win basketball games by making plays. Rutgers lost the last 3 games because their opponents were making more plays than them. RU was never getting the impact stops on defense and on the offensive end sputtered in key stretches. This group of players desperately needed to figure out how to win a game. You wouldnt think a team with NCAA experience would have this issue but they were back at square one. Relearning what it takes to win...effort, energy..playmaking..confidence and they did it with a little help from their friends at the RAC.

Last night was all about playmaking for Rutgers and there was so many key moments that were crucial in this victory last night. No one had time to be upset with Caleb McConnell taking a long jumper 7 seconds into the shot clock because it went in....and the crowd went wild and we were off. Tone setting early, RU was active getting out to a 6-0 lead and you knew things would be different tonight. After that there was a lot of back and forth and a 5 minute sequence where both schools sputtered offensively but both playing pretty good defensively. RU has traditionally not been very efficient at closing out first half especially in a few earlier games at the RAC this year but man did they pick a right time to make some shots. Back to back to back three pointers for Rutgers was pivotal in RU taking charge in this game and they would basically never look back. In the last 2:30, Harper, Hyatt and Caleb drained 3s and suddenly RU found themselves up 8, 33-25 and going into the lockerroom with confidence. For a team that was just 2-9 in the game prior and whose futility in prior games is well documated, I dont know if it was luck or what but big time shots.

2nd half sees Harper with a dunk and foul shot and all over sudden RU up 11 and taking control and Ron would continue to be aggressive the rest of the half. Then Clemson punches back with their own back to back 3s and a layup and all of sudden the lead is down to 1. Critical gut check moment for RU with a ton of time left, in its previous losses, RU seemed to fold when their opponents made their runs. Were we looking at another collapse again. Nope, Ron Harper Jr was not going to let that happen. Of all the returning players Ron has been the least culpable of criticism for this seasons slow start. However Ron did struggle the 2nd half of Lafayette and UMass and those are the kind of spots you look for your senior leader to step up so it was disappointing to see. Ron drained two 3s sandwiched around a rare non dunk fg for Cliff and RU was back up 7. Ron was confident and setting the example for rest of his teammates. Keep your head up and keep working hard. Leading by example because RU would need it as Clemson hung around and hung around cutting the lead to 4 several times. But watching, I felt confident. I thought RU never lost control in this game. They were indeed the better team and when the Clemson center Hall fouled out with 4 minutes there was no looking back.

Players make plays. Ron Harper Jr made plays...made many plays. 23 points on 8-13 shooting, 4-6 from 3, with 9 rebounds just missing on a double double. His teammates followed his lead. Caleb for all the criticism had a very very good game and his shot was back, smooth and much needed a couple of times late. Paul to Cliff for a monster dunk was another key conversion. You have to make plays to win. Rutgers was making them all at critical junctures something they didnt do when they blew a big lead at UMass. But the play of the game was the Harper drive to the hoop to foul out Hall...the and one put RU up 7. Bravo to Ron for realizing he needed to take over as he is quite capable of doing. With Hall gone, we went right to Cliff who on back to back possession and yet another dunk to go up 67-59 basically sealed it. Caleb would make some free throws down the stretch and team collectively played solid D in harrassing Clemson who could not put any kind of desperate comeback together.

I am trying to remember the exact possession where Caleb..I think it was him, just grabbed the ball right from Tyson, think very late in the game. It was that kind of night for Caleb who finished with 16 points, 6 rebounds on 5-7 shooting. Look I have been as tough as anyone on Caleb so really have to give him all the credit in the world for this performance. There were a couple of bad plays he did have in trying to do too much but I felt he was much more focuses and consciously worked on being smarter with his shot selection and seemed extremely confident on defense. Its one game and again does not change my thinking that we cannot rely on Caleb every night as our 2nd or even third offensive option. The trick for Pike is to figure out just how to use him without forcing him to do too much.

Cliff only 23 minutes, I think Hall had the better of him but Cliff still came up big late and did get 9 boards. We all project him as more advanced than he is but we have to be understanding he still is quite young in his development. If we can get him the ball in his sweet spot, its almost an automatic bucket. Cliff in the next two games will be tested beyond belief with Cockburn and the 7ft2 Purdue guy.

I thought Mulcahy deferred offensively to Caleb and Ron and I am okay with that. Long term its not going to be a good thing to have to ride Mulcahy for a last second shot to win a game like we did at Umass. Paul will do what he does best. Be scrappy and see the court. 7 assists and 7 boards a very sneaky good stat line last night.

I thought everyone played well, even those who stats were not all that hot. Experience against a real team matters for the younger players. Hyatt after two disappointing games where his minutes were cut was very productive and active last night. 11 points on 3-6 shooting, 21 minutes really filling his role .Jaden Jones shot from 3 is way off right now but I am still encouraged by his jumpers for 2. I think if we can get him off that 3 point line and try to get him inside he can have very productive nights for RU. Mag didnt have much to his shot last night but he is providing energy and his length defensively can be a strength going forward. Agee still struggling defensively but still giving minutes to rest Cliff and thats all we can ask for right now.

Then we have Jalen Miller. Two theories before the game based on him not playing, he is riding pine because he is that bad and far behind or Pike wanted to redshirt him. Honestly to me redshirting in this day and age seems like a counter productive decision. Vehemently disagree that Pike felt that this was a good plan and with Geo out Jalen certainly should have been brought out for the Umass game. Water under the bridge now. Jalen was unleased and looks like he has some energy. Right away you saw it in the way he defended and he got that nice little drive to the hoop late for his first points. Going to be interesting to watch his development and not sure Pike is going to throw him that many minutes with the wolves of Illinois and Purdue coming up.

Have to give tons of credit to Coach Pike, a few tweaks, less stubborness and probably some good practices sure did help him out after a really rough week and half. I still think the talent is limited a bit so he really is going to pull his hair out figuring out the right combinations and rotations and just who he wants to trust the most especially when Geo comes. This year may end up being about the future rather than the now when all is said and done. I cannot speak to why we looked better without Geo than we did with him. Its a controversial subject here for some reason but its worth for discussion because when Geo comes back, he is going to have to follow Ron's lead for RU to be successful.

Everyone needed this win. We as fans needed to feel good, the players needed to learn that they can win, the coaching staff needed to know they still got it. I do not know what this means going forward. I can say right now, the program really needs to take one game at a time, We will know by the end of the month which direction the season is going. The next 3 games are extremely difficult. I had them losing all 3 of them even in my optimistic 20-11 NCAA season prediction. RU cannot change their 4-3 record, what's done is done, we will find out soon enough whether that stretch of 3 losses is too much to overcome. What the program can take from last night is that when RU brings it they can play a solid 40 minutes that can at least compete with decent programs. Its a step in the right direction because I dont think RU was necessarily competing prior to this game. Rutgers stopped the bleeding, stopped the negativity and finally we felt good about the program that has given us so much joy for the past 2 seasons. For now savor it, the Big 10 is going to be unforgiving.

As always, excellent write up Bac.
 
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Mr Magoo

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Now that is more like it!

For the first time this season, we really saw the Rutgers we thought we knew. The team we expected coming off of two NCAA tourney seasons*. Honestly the team has been dreadful at the RAC for the home slate thus far sleepwalking and playing purposelessly against lower level schools and the Lafayette defeat was one of the worst losses in RAC history in the 21st century. The impact of the loss of Myles, JY, and Mathis has beaten to death but quite frankly there is more than enough talent remaining to have been 6-0 coming into last night. The disappointment starts of several upperclassmen really impacted the growth of the entire team meaning the newcomers either were not getting minutes or were thrust in situations where they had to perform or get yanked. Not a good situation all around. How could the new guys integrate themselves in a positive way when the example from the upperclassmen is so poor in decision making and effort. Its not too much to ask for leadership and energy against the likes of Lafayette and Lehigh so I think the vitriol toward the players and coaching staff was a bit justified. No one was making up how bad it was, the results spoke for themselves. With three quick bad losses and down a guy in Geo, RU came into last night absolutely sputtering.

Last night felt a little different before tipoff, first big name opponent..ie real school at the RAC. a situation where the RAC thrives. Remember its been since the Maryland game back in early March 2020 where RU was going to be in a juiced environment. Even with the recent struggles, the RAC crowd led by the students were very willing from the get go and immediately you could tell the players had more in their step than we had seen maybe in the previous 3 games combines. The RAC and players were working symbiotically. It started to feel like 2020 in spots. No Clemson isnt Maryland and yes the place was not even full and yes there have been so many crowds that have been louder. But for this place, this night, this game, this situation the program finds itself in, this was just what the fans needed , just what the players needed and just what the fans needed.


What we saw last night was an indication that there is indeed fight left in this team, the staff and the fanbase. Let me tell you last night was an absolute enjoyable and pleasurable experience at the RAC. Two pretty evenly matched schools, both struggling a bit from their NCAA seasons in a rematch where Rutgers really played a very very solid 40 minutes of basketball. Teams win basketball games by making plays. Rutgers lost the last 3 games because their opponents were making more plays than them. RU was never getting the impact stops on defense and on the offensive end sputtered in key stretches. This group of players desperately needed to figure out how to win a game. You wouldnt think a team with NCAA experience would have this issue but they were back at square one. Relearning what it takes to win...effort, energy..playmaking..confidence and they did it with a little help from their friends at the RAC.

Last night was all about playmaking for Rutgers and there was so many key moments that were crucial in this victory last night. No one had time to be upset with Caleb McConnell taking a long jumper 7 seconds into the shot clock because it went in....and the crowd went wild and we were off. Tone setting early, RU was active getting out to a 6-0 lead and you knew things would be different tonight. After that there was a lot of back and forth and a 5 minute sequence where both schools sputtered offensively but both playing pretty good defensively. RU has traditionally not been very efficient at closing out first half especially in a few earlier games at the RAC this year but man did they pick a right time to make some shots. Back to back to back three pointers for Rutgers was pivotal in RU taking charge in this game and they would basically never look back. In the last 2:30, Harper, Hyatt and Caleb drained 3s and suddenly RU found themselves up 8, 33-25 and going into the lockerroom with confidence. For a team that was just 2-9 in the game prior and whose futility in prior games is well documated, I dont know if it was luck or what but big time shots.

2nd half sees Harper with a dunk and foul shot and all over sudden RU up 11 and taking control and Ron would continue to be aggressive the rest of the half. Then Clemson punches back with their own back to back 3s and a layup and all of sudden the lead is down to 1. Critical gut check moment for RU with a ton of time left, in its previous losses, RU seemed to fold when their opponents made their runs. Were we looking at another collapse again. Nope, Ron Harper Jr was not going to let that happen. Of all the returning players Ron has been the least culpable of criticism for this seasons slow start. However Ron did struggle the 2nd half of Lafayette and UMass and those are the kind of spots you look for your senior leader to step up so it was disappointing to see. Ron drained two 3s sandwiched around a rare non dunk fg for Cliff and RU was back up 7. Ron was confident and setting the example for rest of his teammates. Keep your head up and keep working hard. Leading by example because RU would need it as Clemson hung around and hung around cutting the lead to 4 several times. But watching, I felt confident. I thought RU never lost control in this game. They were indeed the better team and when the Clemson center Hall fouled out with 4 minutes there was no looking back.

Players make plays. Ron Harper Jr made plays...made many plays. 23 points on 8-13 shooting, 4-6 from 3, with 9 rebounds just missing on a double double. His teammates followed his lead. Caleb for all the criticism had a very very good game and his shot was back, smooth and much needed a couple of times late. Paul to Cliff for a monster dunk was another key conversion. You have to make plays to win. Rutgers was making them all at critical junctures something they didnt do when they blew a big lead at UMass. But the play of the game was the Harper drive to the hoop to foul out Hall...the and one put RU up 7. Bravo to Ron for realizing he needed to take over as he is quite capable of doing. With Hall gone, we went right to Cliff who on back to back possession and yet another dunk to go up 67-59 basically sealed it. Caleb would make some free throws down the stretch and team collectively played solid D in harrassing Clemson who could not put any kind of desperate comeback together.

I am trying to remember the exact possession where Caleb..I think it was him, just grabbed the ball right from Tyson, think very late in the game. It was that kind of night for Caleb who finished with 16 points, 6 rebounds on 5-7 shooting. Look I have been as tough as anyone on Caleb so really have to give him all the credit in the world for this performance. There were a couple of bad plays he did have in trying to do too much but I felt he was much more focuses and consciously worked on being smarter with his shot selection and seemed extremely confident on defense. Its one game and again does not change my thinking that we cannot rely on Caleb every night as our 2nd or even third offensive option. The trick for Pike is to figure out just how to use him without forcing him to do too much.

Cliff only 23 minutes, I think Hall had the better of him but Cliff still came up big late and did get 9 boards. We all project him as more advanced than he is but we have to be understanding he still is quite young in his development. If we can get him the ball in his sweet spot, its almost an automatic bucket. Cliff in the next two games will be tested beyond belief with Cockburn and the 7ft2 Purdue guy.

I thought Mulcahy deferred offensively to Caleb and Ron and I am okay with that. Long term its not going to be a good thing to have to ride Mulcahy for a last second shot to win a game like we did at Umass. Paul will do what he does best. Be scrappy and see the court. 7 assists and 7 boards a very sneaky good stat line last night.

I thought everyone played well, even those who stats were not all that hot. Experience against a real team matters for the younger players. Hyatt after two disappointing games where his minutes were cut was very productive and active last night. 11 points on 3-6 shooting, 21 minutes really filling his role .Jaden Jones shot from 3 is way off right now but I am still encouraged by his jumpers for 2. I think if we can get him off that 3 point line and try to get him inside he can have very productive nights for RU. Mag didnt have much to his shot last night but he is providing energy and his length defensively can be a strength going forward. Agee still struggling defensively but still giving minutes to rest Cliff and thats all we can ask for right now.

Then we have Jalen Miller. Two theories before the game based on him not playing, he is riding pine because he is that bad and far behind or Pike wanted to redshirt him. Honestly to me redshirting in this day and age seems like a counter productive decision. Vehemently disagree that Pike felt that this was a good plan and with Geo out Jalen certainly should have been brought out for the Umass game. Water under the bridge now. Jalen was unleased and looks like he has some energy. Right away you saw it in the way he defended and he got that nice little drive to the hoop late for his first points. Going to be interesting to watch his development and not sure Pike is going to throw him that many minutes with the wolves of Illinois and Purdue coming up.

Have to give tons of credit to Coach Pike, a few tweaks, less stubborness and probably some good practices sure did help him out after a really rough week and half. I still think the talent is limited a bit so he really is going to pull his hair out figuring out the right combinations and rotations and just who he wants to trust the most especially when Geo comes. This year may end up being about the future rather than the now when all is said and done. I cannot speak to why we looked better without Geo than we did with him. Its a controversial subject here for some reason but its worth for discussion because when Geo comes back, he is going to have to follow Ron's lead for RU to be successful.

Everyone needed this win. We as fans needed to feel good, the players needed to learn that they can win, the coaching staff needed to know they still got it. I do not know what this means going forward. I can say right now, the program really needs to take one game at a time, We will know by the end of the month which direction the season is going. The next 3 games are extremely difficult. I had them losing all 3 of them even in my optimistic 20-11 NCAA season prediction. RU cannot change their 4-3 record, what's done is done, we will find out soon enough whether that stretch of 3 losses is too much to overcome. What the program can take from last night is that when RU brings it they can play a solid 40 minutes that can at least compete with decent programs. Its a step in the right direction because I dont think RU was necessarily competing prior to this game. Rutgers stopped the bleeding, stopped the negativity and finally we felt good about the program that has given us so much joy for the past 2 seasons. For now savor it, the Big 10 is going to be unforgiving.
Excellent recap. Totally agree with you about redshirting almost always being a waste in this day and age. Too much risk of a player transferring to be wasting time with scholarships sitting on the bench for a years. I think it will become rare for players to stay at once school for 4 years…let alone 5.
 

S_Janowski

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We are going to disagree. Credit for Pike for how he has coached all season for this game. Pike isn't putting a band aid on our defensive woes. Making newcomers earn playing time with effort and D finally paid dividends.

Having said that Hyatt and Jones have a long way to go. The reason I want Geo back is to take their minutes. Hyatt's defense last night (along with Paul) was not close to where they need to be. Caleb was terrific on Honor. Ron took 2 charges.

I don’t think Baker “needs” to take their minutes but there’s no doubt Hyatt and Jones need to step it up a bit on the defensive front, Hyatt especially.

He had a few defensive lapses last night (and previous games) and he seems to get a pass on this board by some. He’s not putting up enough production right now to be having defensive lapses.

I know a lot of people hate our offensive approach but this team (and the RAC) feeds off the momentum that our defense provides and last night was a perfect example.

Miller’s 7 minutes doesn’t really show up in the stat sheet but you could feel the difference he made with his teammates and that building with the defensive energy he brought.
 
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Greene Rice FIG

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Don’t look but Monmouth playing real well. They won At Cincinnati/ beat Princeton / won at St Joe’s. They have a more impressive resume than us currently. Must see TV when they play Iona this year. 🤔
I’d rather watch the professional drone league on FS2
 

RW90

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I don’t think Baker “needs” to take their minutes but there’s no doubt Hyatt and Jones need to step it up a bit on the defensive front, Hyatt especially.

He had a defensive few lapses last night (and previous games) and he seems to get a pass on this board by some. He’s not putting up enough production right now to be having defensive lapses.
Agreed but unfortunately Hyatt is the best 4 we have on the roster at this point, unless of course you classify as RHJ a 4.
 
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BigEastPhil

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Agreed but unfortunately Hyatt is the best 4 we have on the roster at this point, unless of course you classify as RHJ a 4.
Have to say but I have been disappointed with Hyatt to date. His defense leaves a lot to be desired and I just haven’t seen the consistent value added benefit every game. Hopefully he just needs to get better acclimated
 

RW90

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As Bac touched on, still concerning how Cliff hasn't been able to defend the paint well. I realize it's unfair to compare him with Myles whose size and length was such an equalizer, but last night was yet another game where the opposing centers scored rather easily. Scary to think about what's upcoming with Cockburn and Purdue's bigs.
 
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RW90

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Have to say but I have been disappointed with Hyatt to date. His defense leaves a lot to be desired and I just haven’t seen the consistent value added benefit every game. Hopefully he just needs to get better acclimated
Oh I get it, but until Agee, Reiber, or Palmquist produce who else is going to get his minutes?
 

Danprusa_4

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Like ALMOST always haha great post BAC. We as fans for sure have now something to smile about and hope it’s progress from here on out. I’ve accepted the fact we will see tons of mistakes from our young guys as well as the leaders but if they continue to play like a team that’s all that matters.
 

Eagleton96

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It’s not controversial that the team played better when Geo was out. It’s controversial to revise history and say that’s always been the case, or extrapolate forward and say that will continue to be the case. He’s not an all star, and he had a bad start this year, but he’s been an important piece for us generally and it’s delusional to conclude, as some have, that we are better off this year without him.
 

Eagleton96

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Also, the status of Jones’ game is coming into focus. He’s still very weak on D, doesn’t rebound much or play with high energy…and while he has strong offense skills, sometimes seems lost or slow in the team flow on O. He’s a freshman and needs a lot of development.
 

Greene Rice FIG

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Also, the status of Jones’ game is coming into focus. He’s still very weak on D, doesn’t rebound much or play with high energy…and while he has strong offense skills, sometimes seems lost or slow in the team flow on O. He’s a freshman and needs a lot of development.
If his shots don't go down he isn't helping us.
 
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RUChoppin

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So, Jones has been showing some spark here and there, seems to be getting more comfortable moving within the offense, and is starting to catch up a bit on defense.

But the one thing he hasn't shown, yet, is that he's the shooter everyone was hoping for. He's now 3/16 (.188) from the arc, and 1/13 (.077) over the last 3 games. To put that in perspective, he's made as many 3's as McConnell has in the last three games, while taking 8 more attempts.

Hoping this is just a slump, or that he's just overthinking and trying to do too much rather than playing instinctively... but so far the results haven't been great on his outside shooting. He's been solid inside the arc, though.
 

Eagleton96

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If his shots don't go down he isn't helping us.
If his shots don't go down then he's a full blown liability. If they do go down and rest of his game stays the same, then he's a wash at best compared with the other options on the roster. I do think the game will slow down for him, on both sides of the ball, with experience. He's a freshman.
 

zebnatto

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A lot to figure, a lot of questions re., remainder of the year:

Which Caleb will we see?
Will Paul continue his recent good play and add on an extra bucket or two?
Can Cliff develop as a defensive force?
What's Geo's role?
Can Ron stay focused for 30+ mins and be a high-tier 3 pt shooter?
How good is Hyatt?
How much progress will we see from Jaden, offensively and defensively?
Can we get ten minutes of intense D and few TOs from Jalen?
Can Mag give energy and good D and (to use old-school jargon) pick up a few points as a "garbage man" on O?
 
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Greene Rice FIG

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The problem is we need that 3rd (and 4th) scorer. Coming in to the season I assumed someone would step up out of the unknowns.

Quite frankly, although only a month, I never thought everyone of the unknowns would be way under my expectations/hopes.

I like Paul and Caleb a lot. They are great for any program. That being said, when they are playing 34 MPG you have a problem.
 

RUChoppin

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The problem is we need that 3rd (and 4th) scorer. Coming in to the season I assumed someone would step up out of the unknowns.

Quite frankly, although only a month, I never thought everyone of the unknowns would be way under my expectations/hopes.

I like Paul and Caleb a lot. They are great for any program. That being said, when they are playing 34 MPG you have a problem.

The problem is that Mulcahy/McConnell are really designed to occupy the same role. Grit guy, scrapper, facilitator, ball protector, rebounder, fighting for loose balls, "do things that don't show up in the box score", occasional offense as a 4th option, etc. It's the sort of guy a lot of successful teams have on the court.

The only issue is we have two of them on the court at the same time for like 75% of the game. And if the other 3 guys out there with them aren't "on" offensively, we can get in trouble fast. You can only get assists if the other guy hits his shot.
 
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NewJerseyHawk

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There is a lack of common sense being applied here in referring to Jaden Jones and Aundre Hyatt.....we are now talking about defensive lapses?? Mulcahy is the weakest defensive player and I hold someone to a slightly higher standard being in their 3rd year in the program vs someone in Game 6 or 7....there is no substitute for getting used to a new system, new ways you have to study your opponents and getting acclimated.

Here is the common sense that is what we have so far, even with supposedly defense being first....defense and rebounding and staying in front of your man on defense all important.

Here's what we have....and not everything is about scoring, shooting percentages, but these are hard numbers to ignore.

Jaden Jones.....5.7 PPG in 15 minutes a game and is a clear scoring threat....

Aundre Hyatt.....7.1 PPG (really 8.8 PPG if you remove UMass, where he only played 9 minutes).....he is only playing 20 minutes a game.

Paul Mulcahy....7.3 PPG and yes he has to play 25 to 28 minutes.....but he is around 33 minutes a game right now.....

If you are referring to 3 "supposedly" not in sync players on defense.....what happens if you increase Jones minutes....?? You will get double figures scoring, potentially way more threatening to the defense from perimeter and 3....

What happens if you bump Hyatt from 22 MPG to 28MPG.....?? You are essentially looking at 8.8PPG in 6 of the games where he played around 22MPG....adding another 5 to 6 minutes, means more getting into the game flow, likely adds another 4PPG.

These are what the numbers show....we can isolate this play or that play......I am not sure you are going to get 12 to 13PPG from Mulcahy, he's already at 33 minutes a game....

The math is pretty straightforward (to me).....sure, you may expect Jones to score more in the same amount of limited minutes, which is kinda unrealistic. I don't see a situation where we can ask RHJ to shoot 4 of 6 from 3 and get to 23 points most nights......

The only path (to me) is to spread the shots around, add more minutes per game to Jaden and Hyatt, so BOTH can get into double figure scoring.

Then you would have Cliff, Baker, RHJ, Jaden and Hyatt all clicking, with Caleb defending/scoring, Paul taking his floaters, an occasional wing 3 and hitting Cliff or RHJ with passes......and then Jalen Miller needs minutes.

If you play Jalen Miller 8 minutes a game and bring Mulcahy down from 34 to 35 minutes a game, you increase your defense on the ball (which helps Mulcahy and others) and you allow those shot attempts to land with Hyatt and Jones.

If fans don't want to acknowledge the numbers or actually watching the flow of the game, Miller, even without scoring a basket, immediately increases the defense of RU by a LOT.......there just isn't a path asking RHJ to be superman every night that can win games.....the workload has to be shared on both ends of the floor......

More minutes for better defense from Miller.....

More minutes for more scoring/shooting for Jones.

More minutes/scoring/rebounding for Hyatt.
 
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Greene Rice FIG

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I think there is a lack of common sense viewing effort and energy and looking for others.

I 100%+ get your frustration with people (and more importantly) Pike giving Paul slack defensively. It is as if it is OK for Paul to have defensive lapses, but not Jaden or Aundre.

We both have seen 85+% of RU minutes either live or on TV. I get that Jaden looks the part offensively and has confidence. I understand the feeling that he will figure it out. I am missing something with Aundre right now. I expected him to be a good defensive player. He is anything but right now.

The lack of common sense BS is just wrong. I think it is a valid observation that Aundre and Jaden are very bad right now. I think it is a valid observation they aren't playing hard enough. I think it is very wise for Pike to demand they play better on defense. It is not OK for Jaden to be playing zone when the defense for the possession is full court zone press to man. They had an assistant coach put it on the clipboard because we screwed up so much at UMASS. I know he can score, but he needs to do more than that.

I totally get your frustration with Paul. His D is no different than Jaden and Aundre. Maybe the fact that we will dive on the floor makes it look better, but it is just lipstick.
 

Greene Rice FIG

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BTW.....if you were the coach we lose to Clemson.

The story of the game was the improved defense, especailly behind the line. The band aid approach you want to see might have won at UMASS or at home against Lafayette. We need to worry about beating real teams.