Rutgers had a lead before it gave Wake Forest a free path to the basket and a 69-68 lead in the final 30 seconds of Monday night's game. Rutgers got two chances for the win, but missed a pair of jumpers, and the result is a third straight loss for coach Eddie Jordan and his young roster.
With a blown defensive assignment by freshman Jonathan Laurent and missed looks by freshman Corey Sanders and sophomore Mike Williams, Jordan pointed again to youth as a reason for the blown double-digit lead.
"We’re disappointed in the results," Jordan said. "We’re disappointed in some areas coming down the stretch, but that’s what young teams do. You can’t get frustrated, just have to learn from it. It’s a challenge to get young teams to make winning plays on this level."
The final play came on an inbounds pass from Sanders with 4.6 seconds left. Sanders inbounded the ball to Williams, who rushed a long-range shot that missed badly.
"I wanted the ball to get inbounds first," Jordan said. "We were looking at it on the bench, and Corey wants the last shot, but I learned a long time ago that you have to get the ball in first, and I trust him to get the ball in. We had Mike Williams and Omari Grier on the floor as shooters. We had our two bigs who had played most of the last five or six minutes on the floor. We wanted a corner shot from Omari on a back screen or Mike on a flare. Mike Williams was open, Corey made the right pass. Mike’s a sophomore. If he’s a junior or a senior he knows, he’s got a clock in his head, he’s got four seconds to release the ball. He shot it like he had half a second. But that’s what young teams do with young players.”