Scarlet Knights Set for Non-Conference Finale

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Rutgers basketball and coach Eddie Jordan have an opportunity at real momentum before the start of Big Ten play but it has to get through UMass Lowell tonight at the RAC.

Rutgers does not enter Big Ten play with a winning record but it could do so after back-to-back confidence builders to close out December.

Rutgers topped Fairleigh Dickinson before a brief holiday break and faces a challenge Monday night in UMass Lowell. The River Hawks (4-7) sit upon a three-game losing streak of their own, but any team with a road victory over Boston College represents a challenge to the Scarlet Knights (5-7).

The Scarlet Knights have both a size and experience advantage for what could be the final time in the 2015-16 season but remain thin off the bench.

Junior forward DeShawn Freeman (knee) is the closest to a return with center Shaquille Doorson (foot) and Ibrahima Diallo (foot) out indefinitely.

“It wasn’t minutes; it was who was playing well. If you played well, you played,” head coach Eddie Jordan said to reporters on managing a thin bench against FDU. “If you didn’t, you were coming out and I’ll try somebody else.”

Guard Corey Sanders leads Big Ten freshmen with his 13.5 points per game and a career-best 21 against FDU. The Scarlet Knights likely stick with a three-guard attack tonight with Sanders alongside Mike Williams, Omari Grier, D.J. Foreman and Greg Lewis.

Williams, who continues work at forward because of injuries, faces a unique matchup against 6-foot-2, 220-pound Jahad Thomas. Thomas plays a similar role for Lowell, where he leads with 11.5 points and 7.2 rebounds per game in what is good defensive preparation for what Williams can expect in the Big Ten.

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