Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Guest Contributor Ray Floriani: St. John's at Rutgers

by Ray Floriani

PISCATAWAY, NJ - Seizing the momentum of Saturday’s win over Notre Dame, Rutgers scored an impressive 84-72 victory over St.John’s at the RAC on Tuesday.

In a 69 possession game, the Efficiency and Factors:



The first minute gave us little indication of what was in store:

1. Rutgers wins tape misses 12 footer.
2. St.John’s : Paris Horne hits three pointer
3. Rutgers in possession as minute ends.
3-0 St.John’s

Actually the first minute did tell us something, St.John’s would be shooting jump shots a good percentage of the evening.

Rutgers coach Fred Hill did not even mention the dreaded TO factor. No need. Shooting is a remedy that cures many woes. The Scarlet Knight 122 offensive efficiency was largely due to the gaudy 64% eFG percentages. Rutgers shot 31 of 55 from the floor (56%) which included 8 of 15 (53%) beyond the arc. Credit good ball movement, making that extra pass and several transition opportunities for the outstanding efficiency.

Mike Rosario had another huge game. He scored 18 the first half against ND and had 21 the first twenty minutes tonight. Rosario was 13 of 22 (3 of 5 from three) on the night. The Rutgers soph led all scorers with 33 points while adding 5 boards. Most impressive was the face he did not attempt to force the issue and passed up shots in favor of teammates with better looks.

Jonathan Mitchell added 18 points 6 boards and had two huge field goals to stem a late game St.John’s run. Hamady Ndiaye was dominant in the paint. The Rutgers senior center scored 19 points, grabbed 9 boards and rejected 9 shots. As Fred Hill noted who would have thought three years ago the day would come that Ndiaye would post these numbers in a Big East game. There is no stat for altered shots. Too bad because Ndiaye had a Bill Russell style mark on the game.

DJ Kennedy led St. John’s with 27 points, shooting (5 of 9 from three), which allowed the Storm to make a late run. Overall, St.John’s was forced into a jump shooting game. No surprise as that has been the script for them this season. The two main inside players for St. John’s are Sean Evans and Justin Burrell. Evans scored 11 but mostly on put backs or baseline drives. Burrell added 10 with four of his five field goals from 12-15 feet. The Storm lack a true classic and consistent post up threat.

Beside offensive efficiency credit Rutgers with good old fashioned hustle. The offensive rebounding percentage stat is a testament to that. In raw numbers Rutgers won the battle of the glass 38-28.

Credit Hill for utilizing a 2-3 zone as part of the defensive game plan. Rutgers used mostly man to man defense but the 2-3 helped rebounding, created transition opportunities and forced St.John’s to lose movement on offense and settle for jump shots.

Sharing the ball. Rutgers assisted on 58% (18 assists on 31 FGM) of their field goals. St.John’s had 11 assists on their 27 (41%) field goals which suggests a more off the dribble shooting approach. From an offensive standpoint it was simply an impressive night for Fred Hill’s club.

St. John’s is 12-9, 2-7 in Big East while Rutgers is 11-11, 2-8. Both clubs are back in action Saturday. Rutgers visits Louisville while St. John’s hosts West Virginia at Madison Square Garden.

“I’m disappointed. We didn’t make plays. We didn’t take away their (Rutgers) strengths and we missed opportunities.” - St. John’s coach Norm Roberts

“The kids have been working really hard. We have had a tough stretch and they (players) never stopped believing. Now they are getting rewarded.” - Rutgers coach Fred Hill

The RAC in the 1st half

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