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Rutgers can’t sustain good start, fall to Ohio State

Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Bishop Daniels (2) drives to the lane. (Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports)

Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Bishop Daniels (2) drives to the lane. (Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports)

 

It was as good of a first half as Rutgers men’s basketball could ask for.

After getting blown out in embarrassing fashion on their home court to Nebraska this past Saturday, the Scarlet Knights came out with the energy and effort necessary to compete with Ohio State, one of the top teams in the Big Ten.

The first 20 minutes was capitalized with a drive and finish by freshman guard Corey Sanders, who scored 17 points in the first half. The Knights went into the locker room with a 41-39 lead, and looked to keep the game close over the final 20 minutes of play.

But then, the exact opposite happened.

The Buckeyes raced out to an 8-0 start to the second half, and never relinquished the lead. By the time the Knights could recover, the game was already out of reach.

Rutgers reverted to its old ways, and wound up with its second straight blowout defeat, with a final score of 94-68.

For how crisp and efficient the offense looked in the first half, Rutgers came out flat in the second.

The Knights settled for perimeter jump shots, and failed to attack the basket with any consistency.

Highlighting this was the scoring difference in the stat line of Corey Sanders.

Sanders went into halftime with 17 points while shooting 75 percent from the field. Yet the freshman guard could not keep the scoring pace up in the second, making only one field goal over the final 20 minutes to finish with 20 points on the game.

The real issue the Knights had in this contest was their defense.

The Buckeyes operated their offense with precision in the second half, and shot nearly 50 percent from the field in the game.

It showed in the box score, as the Buckeyes had six players score in double-figures and distributed the ball well.

Rutgers forced only seven turnovers in the contest, and gave up over 90 points for the second straight game.

The Knights will have to find ways to match the effort it showed in the first half of this game in the future. The schedule does not get any easier for Rutgers, as its next four contests come against Big Ten opponents ranked in the top 25 among the nation.

With an 0-4 start to the conference season and a 6-12 record overall, this season is starting to get away from head coach Eddie Jordan as it hits the midway point.

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