The numbers in the seats were not the same as the sold-out Connecticut game, but the fans were quick to acknowledge one of the best halves of the season by getting loud for the first time in a long time.
Sparked by a series of big plays from senior forward J.J. Moore, Rutgers fans finally went home happy. The players went home with the four-game losing streak behind them.
"We just had the juice," said head coach Eddie Jordan. "We had it the whole game and even though we had a little cushion coming out of halftime we stayed with it. We didn't have a big letdown. So it was an exciting game for everybody to watch."
Moore scored 17 of his career-high 27 in the first half. His powerful fast-break dunk just before halftime gave Rutgers a 10-point cushion that it rode the rest of the way.
"I felt like it was a revenge thing," Moore said. "We went to their place and they spanked us. I just wanted to come out there with a lot of energy and boost my team up as much as I could."
The same team that blew out the Scarlet Knights to start the four-game skid struggled against a new-look rotation for Rutgers.
Rutgers got it done without starting center Wally Judge (neck), and limited minutes from Kadeem Jack. Jordan started Myles Mack and Jerome Seagears together for the first time since December, and gave sophomore center Greg Lewis a big role during the decisive moments in the first half.
"I look at personality, how we behave, our enthusiasm, teamwork, how we get along," Jordan said. "I look at that and today we did all that. Our behavior was good. We didn't have any finger pointing or disgruntled players or guys holding their heads. It was a lot team work and enthusiasm out there and that's what I look at and our personality was really good for 40 minutes."
Mack responded to his benching against Temple with a solid night in his return to the starting lineup. Mack scored 25 and dished out six assists in the win.
Rutgers (9-13, 3-6) still has a long way to climb in the American standings, and returns to action Tuesday at No. 22 Memphis.