Rutgers flashed signs of electricity – a deep go-ahead three-pointer by Myles Mack and the biggest dunk of the season via Bishop Daniels. Rutgers competed hard for the third straight game before opposition out-executed in a 80-68 win for Minnesota.
“Last year our season ended with one Pitino,” Jordan said after the loss. “This year our season ended with another Pitino, so I hope there are no more Pitinos out there we have to play against at the end of the season.
“These guys have been a pleasure to coach, and we understand what this league is about. It is a tough, tough league. It was a pleasure to step up to the challenge, to be successful. I told my team you don't measure your success in numbers as you move forward in life, even now. So we don't measure what we have done and what we tried to accomplish this year in numbers. It's about what was in our heart, what was in our head, how we developed, how we became a team, how much we had a competitive spirit. So all that was right above board for us.”
Rutgers (10-23, 2-16) finishes its second season on a brutal losing streak, and says goodbye to captains Myles Mack and Kadeem Jack. Mack and Jack, as always, led Rutgers in production with a combined 33 points in their final game in the Scarlet Knight uniform.
Daniels was the spark in a second-half run for Rutgers with 15 points and perhaps the best Scarlet Knights dunk of the season.
“I think him having a game like that kind of gave him a lot of confidence coming in, probably carry over to next year,” Jack said. “Just get in the gym, work, and do what he has to do next year.”
Forwards Malick Kone and Stephen Zurich both saw action in their final games as well as the Scarlet Knights work toward a critical offseason. With 48 percent of scoring in the final game of the year coming from the departed Mack and Jack, Rutgers faces a decisive summer in Piscataway.
“Yeah, I'm always worried about who's going to be the next scorer,” Jordan said. “But when I got here, my first year last year, Kadeem was coming off a year where he averaged four points and two rebounds, and last year he averaged 15 and 9.
“We think that's going to happen. Someone is going to step up. Look, even if it's by committee and it's across the board, we can average pretty much the same. We don't need a major scorer, just consistent scoring.”