Did Inexperience Cost Rutgers In Lose to Wake Forest?
For a while, it seemed as though the Rutgers men’s basketball team would shake the label of being a young and inexperienced team.
During the first 31 minutes of play last night against ACC opponent Wake Forest, this seemed to be the case. The Scarlet Knights were leading by 12 with nine minutes left in the game.
But it all came apart for the Knights, who squandered the lead and fell to the Demon Deacons 69-68.
After trailing by five at the end of the first half, Rutgers (3-4) opened up the second half with a 17-8 scoring run. Fueled by freshman guard Corey Sanders, who contributed nine points to the run, gave the Knights a 41-37 lead just five minutes into the half. The margin was extended to nine after a layup by sophomore forward D.J. Foreman made the score 51-43.
With 11 minutes left and a nine-point lead, a seemingly strong start to the second half began to unravel for Rutgers.
Wake Forest clawed its way back into the game, and tied the score at 60 with a little under five minutes to play. Both teams battled for the lead, and the Knights recaptured it after two clutch free throws by senior center Greg Lewis made the score 68-67.
But the Demon Deacons had an answer, and hit a layup with 10 seconds remaining to go up 69-68. The Knights had the the last possession with the opportunity to win the game, but failed to execute on a critical in-bounds play with five seconds to go.
Sanders inbounded the ball to sophomore guard Mike Williams, who inadvertently launched a contested three-pointer when the Knights only needed a two-point basket. The shot rattled off the backboard, and Wake Forest was able to preserve the win.
“I’m very disappointed that we lost the game,” Rutgers head coach Eddie Jordan said. “We have a young team. We have to learn from it. These are all learning experiences.”
With another learning experience under their belt, the loss last night drops Rutgers to 3-4 on the season. After starting off the year 3-1, the high hopes the Knights had to begin the year have turned into more of a reality check.
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