The Scarlet Knight invade the BC Saturday with their sight set on taking down another top-25 opponent
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
(10-17, 2-12 Big East)
Head Coach: Fred Hill
Game: Bradley Center 1 p.m. CST
JR F J.R. Inman – 6-2, 190- 12.9 ppg , 7.4 rpg
JR G Anthony Farmer – 6-1, 190 - 10.6 ppg, 2.4 apg
JR G/F Jaron Griffin – 6-7, 210- 7.6 ppg, .8 apg
SO C Hamady Ndiaye – 6-11, 235 - 5.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 3.0 Blk/G
FR G Mike Coburn – 6-0, 195- 8.3 ppg, 2.3 apg
FR G Corey Chandler – 6-2, 190- 12.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg
FR G Earl Pettis – 6-5, 225- 2.7 ppg, .8 apg
SR C Byrone Joynes – 6-9, 265- 2.6 ppg, .5.3 rpg
After being unable to capitalize on a second-half run to secure an upset against Notre Dame Sunday, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights will travel to the Bradley Center this Saturday to try to break their 6-game losing streak against No. 24/25 Marquette.
The 1:00 p.m. game will mark the third match up between the teams. The series is currently tied 1-1. Rutgers took the victory during the first meeting, 91-84, in 2006. Last season the then-No. 11/12 Golden Eagles won by a 20-point margin, 67-47, at the Bradley Center. Ousmane Barro shined in last year's game, notching a double-double by scoring 11 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Four other Golden Eagles also scored in double-digits in that game.
Although the Scarlet Knights are currently 2-12 in conference play, the Golden Eagles should not expect an effortless victory. Rutgers has played extremely well against nationally ranked conference opponents, defeating both Villanova, ranked No. 18 at the time, and Pittsburgh, who was No 13/17. Even though the Scarlett Knights fell to the Irish, it was a hard-fought battle lost in the last 10 seconds. Rutgers also took two conference opponents, Cincinnati and Seton Hall, to overtime.
"Tell them what they've done against the Top 25," said Marquette head coach Tom Crean, when asked how he would prepare his team for Rutgers. "Tell them what they've done against the top teams in our league. When you go into Pittsburgh and out rebound them by 16, and when you beat Villanova the way they did – that's enough to get their attention. They bring it when the stakes are at their highest."
In order to be successful in Saturday's game, the Golden Eagles will need to thwart the dynamic defensive duo of Hamady Ndiaye and Byron Joynes. Ndiaye and Joynes were able to hold Notre Dame's Luke Harangody to 10 points on Sunday, far short of his 23.1 ppg average in conference play.
Ndiaye, a sophomore center from Dakar, Senegal, has an impressive 82 blocks on the season and averages three blocks per game. Ndiaye is also a force to be reckoned with underneath the basket, averaging 6.2 rebounds per game. Ndiaye is a top candidate for the BIG EAST conferences Most Improved Player, alongside Marquette sophomore forward Lazar Hayward.
Joynes, a senior, is also a key to Rutgers' defensive success. The 6-9 center from Baltimore averages 5.3 rebounds per game and has 16 blocks and 15 steals on the season. However, a minor elbow injury suffered against Notre Dame may hinder his performance Saturday.
"He's alright," said Rutgers head coach Fred Hill after Sunday's game. "He took a good shot on the elbow. I'm sure he'll have a little lump and a little bruise. We have a week off so he has days to get healthy."
Offensively, Marquette needs to shut down junior forward J.R. Inman. Inman is both the leading scorer and leading rebounder for Rutgers. Inman averages 7.4 boards per game and leads the Scarlet Knights on both the offensive and defensive glass. Inman finished with 14 points against Notre Dame, bested only by Anthony Farmer's 16 points for the Scarlet Knights.
"J.R. Inman is kind of a swing four-man," said Crean. "And he kind of plays the four position the way Lazar plays it for us. He's outstanding."
The Golden Eagles hope to add to their three-game win streak with Saturday's game. Both Jerel McNeal and Dominic James are coming off exceptional performances against St. Johns, scoring 20 and 19 points, respectively.
Following Saturday's game, the Golden Eagles will hit the road to play at Villanova
Monday at 6:00 p.m. CST.