Rutgers sleepwalked for too long after a built 16-point lead, and the result was another head-scratcher at the RAC.
The Scarlet Knights admittedly toned down the intensity with a comfortable lead. Forty minutes later, St. Francis left the RAC as winners. Rutgers left frustrated with another poor finish.
“They just kept creeping back in,” said coach Eddie Jordan. “They just sort of got momentum a little bit. It snowballed, and we weren’t tough enough to get stops, get rebounds. We just couldn’t guard them 1-on-1.”
St. Francis led by as many as 13 points thanks to a 30-8 run.
However poorly Rutgers played, it was still in contention until the final minute. Rutgers roared back with a three-guard look, and 12 second-half points from Bishop Daniels off the bench.
Daniels, however, made the fatal mistake on Rutgers’ last possession. Down by three, Daniels drove in the lane for a layup and missed. With 4.8 seconds on the clock, Rutgers needed a three on the possession.
“I was trying to get an and-one or a quick two,” Daniels said. “I thought there was actually more time on the clock than there was. It just wasn’t the right play at the time.”
Kadeem Jack led Rutgers with 20 points and 12 rebounds, but lost steam in the second half after re-injuring his right thumb.