The Big Ten only had one game on Thursday night, but it ended in thrilling fashion. Rutgers hosted an underwhelming Bryant team at home and the game ended up coming down to the final minutes. All told, Rutgers was able to walk away with a win.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Day:
-Rutgers Scarlet Knights 73, Bryant Bulldogs 71
Let’s not sugarcoat things here. This wasn’t supposed to be a competitive game. Even if Rutgers came into the season with so-so expectations, Bryant was rated well outside the top 300 nationally on KenPom. In other words, Bryant figured to be one of the worst teams in college basketball this season. This should not have been a game.
However, that’s not what ended up happening. Rutgers did pull away a bit before halftime, but it was still only 38-30 at the break. The Scarlet Knights just couldn’t get things going offensively and every starter on the team finished with an offensive rating under 100. Ron Harpter and Montez Mathis both finished with 11 points on the evening. That’s not an encouraging sign for things moving forward.
The most important thing for Rutgers, though, is that the team ended up coming away with the win. Bryant made things uncomfortable late, but the Scarlet Knights were able to grab a 73-71 victory to improve to 1-0 on the season. Fans are certainly going to want to hope this was a classic case of first night jitters.
Things project to be pretty manageable for Rutgers moving forward with Niagara on the slate on Sunday. However, Bryant looked like an easy opponent and the Scarlet Knights made things too close for comfort in that game. We’ll see what Steve Pikiell can do for his time by then. Because if Rutgers continues to play like this, it could be another long season in Piscataway.