Jack's Struggles in Big Ten Opening Loss

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Kadeem Jack set a negative tone early, benched after he was late to a team breakfast, and Rutgers carried its struggles throughout the first Big Ten game in school history. After a 51-47 home loss to Northwestern, coach Eddie Jordan and Jack both addressed what went wrong in the final game of 2014.

The calendar’s change to 2015 will be a welcome one for Rutgers forward Kadeem Jack, who experienced a forgettable Dec. 30 against Northwestern.

Jack, a two-time captain, started off wrong with a 10-minute suspension from coach Eddie Jordan because he was late for a team breakfast. When Jack hit the court with 9:13 to play in the first half, his afternoon only worsened.

Northwestern sparked a 15-5 run on Rutgers after Jack’s entrance. The Wildcats then paced their way to a 51-47 victory in the Scarlet Knights’ first conference game as Big Ten members.

“Any time something like that happens when I’m supposed to be one of the leaders of the team, I think that’s kind of disgraceful,” Jack said. “I place some blame on myself.”

Jack played 18 minutes after re-injuring his thumb Sunday against Monmouth. Eight straight missed field goals later and Jack headed to the bench for the final eight minutes in favor of Malick Kone.

“I feel like I kind of let us down today,” Jack said. “… It was very hard, but I support my teammates. Malick came in and did a really good job.”

Rutgers (8-6, 0-1) nearly fought out of the hole for the second straight game, but fell one play short. The Scarlet Knights held Northwestern scoreless for an astonishing 10 minutes, but came up a play short.

“I’m proud of my guys,” Jordan said. “I really am. You can’t force the ball to go into the basket. We got good looks. We were patient enough in the half court. … I like what they did. I’m proud of what we did tonight. We just didn’t win.”

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