Game 21: Rutgers 84, St. John's 72

Even on the road, this was a completely pathetic loss. The Rutgers Scarlet Knights outplayed St. John's in every facet of the game.

With 10 minutes left in the first half, the Scarlet Knights grew their lead to 18-9 and never looked back as the Red Storm (aka the Sisters of the Poor or the Basketball for the Lame) tried to claw back in... without figuring out how to stop Mike Rosario.

And in not stopping Rosario, they left Hamady Ndiaye open for dunks that will undoubtedly be part of his NBA draft highlight tape.

This was a pathetic performance of pathetic proportions, a game St. John's needed to have but sleepwalked through for a chunk of the first half. I think a few players gave up, especially on defense.

Puke-inducing all around; reaching defense, poor perimeter D like against Cornell, open forwards, and more playing in response to what the opponent is doing as opposed to imposing the team's will. They could not stop... Rutgers?!

Two struggling coaches enter. Norm Roberts comes out... on the hot seat. On the stretcher. Unbelievable.

Roberts, in the postgame interview:

"I give Rutgers a lot of credit they made a lot of shots. Mike Rosario played great. We didn’t do a really good job of guarding him. We knew that he was coming off of a good game and we let him get too comfortable.

"We’re disappointed, that’s life when you don’t do what you think you’re capable of doing. Rutgers made some plays and we didn’t make them."

"We didn’t take away their strengths, we knew that Rosario was a guy that was going to jump up and shoot it so we knew that we had to crowd him. We didn’t crowd him enough to make him put it on the floor rather than let him pull up and shot jumpers."

"When we needed to get stops at the end of the shot clock we didn’t do it. Our guards allowed their guards to get in the lane deep then shoot over the top of us. We have to do a much better job on one on one defense and not letting those plays happen."

This week, I will be writing about some possible candidates to replace him, because I think it's actually going to happen. And thankfully, because this team is poorly trained, poorly prepared, and makes every team look incredible.

(photo courtesy of ScarletKnights.com)

From the 5 Keys:

Garden State Stealing. James Beatty had 6 turnovers. But I think the team could have forced more turnovers - the Knights were a little sloppy with the ball - and gotten easy shots. But credit where it's due. C+.

The Garbagemen. Rutgers was better on the glass than they have been - a combination of confidence, effort, and St. John's small size. Still, the Red Storm got some offensive rebounds. But the offense couldn't take advantage (and the occasional dribble off the foot doesn't help, either). B-.

Hands Up! I don't know what the eff went on when they scouted Rutgers and practiced how they were going to defend Mike Rosario. Yeah, he made shots, but he took 22 of them! One would think he wouldn't score on 59% of his opportunities. He looked like a superhero or Kobe Bryant out there. And then Jonathan Mitchell joins for 4 of 6 from beyond the arc, mostly unguarded? Get the f*** out of here. It looked like Jon Jaques from Cornell strafing St. John's once again. F.

Offensive Execution. They scored 1.0 points per game - good enough to win them games (or get them close) with the defense they have played. But they needed to score more, have more offensive weapons on the floor. St. John's couldn't get Dwight Hardy open for equalizing looks. D+.

Keep Cool.

I wrote -

Rutgers may come out on fire, feeling it from the win over Notre Dame; but St. John’s has to weather their valiant attack and take a road win. Dane Miller and Mike Rosario will have nice stretches, but St. John’s has to run their sets, take smart shots, and not underestimate their opponent.

The team has had worse stretches on offense in other games, but they were reaching all over the place on D, and it created open opportunities for Ndiaye. DJ Kennedy made some nice shots late; Justin Burrell's jumper was working, They tried to work it inside for fouls, but with a point guard who cannot score, it's hard to establish the threat of scoring all over the floor. D.

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