Rebounds bounced off hands, fast-break opportunities where kicked or kneed out-of-bounds, lay-ups were missed and all too often a defensive assignment broke down and left Darius Johnson-Odom wide open.
The Scarlet Knights dropped their third straight Wednesday, this on a 73-65 defeat to Marquette in the Big East home opener in front of 5,358 at the Rutgers Athletic Center, and the frustration is oozing.
"We've got a sick taste in our mouth, and we're tired of the same, ‘Oh, we tried hard,' " Rutgers senior Jonathan Mitchell said. "We just have to get wins."
It wasn't that Marquette (11-4, 2-0 Big East) has gaggles of talent, although it is a good team, but rather Rutgers (9-5, 0-2) played sloppily, lacked urgency, got very little production from three of its top players and wasted a wonderful chance to stem a losing streak.
While point guard James Beatty scored a career-high 24 points, which was offset by Johnson-Odom's 29 points, Mitchell scored five points and had four rebounds and senior guard Mike Coburn had one point, no rebounds, eight assists and four turnovers.
To cap it off, Rutgers second-leading scorer and leading rebounder Dane Miller fouled out in 29 minutes after scoring three points (1 of 4), grabbing seven rebounds, and feeling the wrath of coach Mike Rice on several occasions for lack of boxing out and defense.
"We have such a small margin of error, and so if we don't attend to the details of the game," Rice said, "whether it's closing out with high hands, whether it's setting screens so we can get open on the wing, jump-stopping, as simple as boxing out …it depends on a lot of good decisions to become successful.
"We have guys not as consistent as they need to be."
The Golden Eagles led comfortably most of the way, beginning with a 14-5 advantage four minutes in.
Rutgers fought to stay close, but never truly threatened. Marquette led 37-30 at the half, , but the Scarlet Knights trimmed it to 38-34 a few minutes into the second half and were primed to cut further into the deficit.
However, Rutgers couldn't capitalize on a strong defensive possession as Davante Gardner grabbed an offensive rebound of his own miss and Jimmy Butler (16 points) made the Scarlet Knights pay with a jumper as the Golden Eagles maintained control.
"These last two Big East games, I feel like we've beaten ourselves," Beatty said. "We turned the ball over, or we gave up offensive rebounds."
A few minutes later Rutgers pulled within four points, but a trio of missed shots, including a Coburn forced floater with a new shot clock, kept the Scarlet Knights from getting closer and Marquette pulled away again and made it 50-42 when Jae Crowder (15 points) followed up a Vander Blue offensive rebound with a jumper.
"Some possessions we just have to tough it out and do anything for the win," Miller said. "I think we have to find ways to use our momentum to help us win games. At one point we were and down (six), and they went and scored and got a (free throw) too, and it turned the game. We have to keep the momentum."