Let's face it, a 17 point loss to an unranked A-10 team on your home floor looks bad, and it was bad. But there were a few positives that could be taken from this game. It isn't all doom and gloom in Piscataway.
Kadeem Jack's Injury
The most obvious reason not to fret over this one game is that Kadeem Jack missed the game with a thumb injury. Jack is arguably the team's best player, and an injury to any team's best player is going to cause a decrease in overall production. Rutgers was out rebounded by George Washington 45-37 in this game. With Jack playing, that margin would have been much closer. George Washington had three players with at least 9 rebounds. If Jack was playing, his presence in the paint would have kept that from happening. The offense didn't have a strong inside player to go through, and because of this we saw the starting guards, Bishop Daniels and Myles Mack, forced into difficult shots. With an inside presence, the ball can be pushed inside and there would be a lot more opportunities for kick-outs to open guards to shoot. Jack is expected to return for Wednesday night's game against Fairleigh-Dickinson. The last time Rutgers faced Fairleigh-Dickinson they were without the services of an injured Kadeem Jack, and lost 73-72.
The performance of Rutgers' newcomers was one of the biggest things to look for on Sunday, and they performed well. Three freshmen saw a total of 56 minutes of play on Sunday, and scored a combined 21 points. These freshmen were center Shaquille Doorson, forward D.J. Foreman and guard Mike Williams. Doorson had 2 points, 2 blocks and 1 rebound in 13 minutes. He showed that he may be limited offensively, but defensively he can fill some space and alter a few shots. D.J. Foreman scored 9 points in his debut on 5 shots, including this impressive dunk. He also gathered 5 rebounds in his 21 minutes of play. With consistent success, Foreman may be able to find his way into the starting lineup, in favor of senior center Greg Lewis. Guard Mike Williams came off the bench to score 10 points in his freshman debut. He connected on 2 of 5 three pointers, and was 4 for 8 overall. Williams showed off his shooting touch, and proved that he will be able to provide a scoring spark off the bench.
George Washington is Good
The Colonials are fresh off an NCAA tournament appearance, and are projected to finish 2nd in the strong A-10 conference. The only team that they are expected to finish behind is 15th ranked VCU. They have a lot of scoring depth, and they have a very balanced attack. George Washington is a good team, and there is no shame in losing to a team of George Washington's caliber when you are missing your most talented player.