What is Rutgers going to do when an even better team comes to the RAC Thursday? Sophomore D.J. Foreman says pray.
A defeated but honest Rutgers basketball team spoke in the locker room after the worst loss in RAC history. And although effort was there, a hopeless feeling sunk in as injuries pile up and scores become more lopsided.
"I guess you just come together and, somehow, I guess pray," Foreman said. "They're a better team in the rankings. We just have to play harder. That's all we can do."
The blowouts and loss records for Rutgers (6-13, 0-6) can only get worse with a severely depleted roster. Big men DeShawn Freeman, Ibrahima Diallo and Shaq Doorson are all out for the season. Center Greg Lewis' knee injury likely limits him to 20 minutes per night and Jonathan Laurent remains out with a concussion.
Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan said effort is there. The execution, however, becomes messy with Foreman as the only legitimately healthy forward on the roster.
"He didn’t say too much," Foreman said. "He’s going to talk about it more tomorrow because the way the game went, there may be too many emotions that might come out from a loss like this. Maybe when everyone has their character back together, we can talk about tomorrow."
Freshman guard Corey Sanders remains a vocal leader and team spokesman during a trying time. Sanders logged a career-high 23 points as the Big Ten's freshman leader in scoring and steals. The season may be gone, but Sanders continues to speak positively about the future.
"I came in here to build a program and turn it around and it’s not going to happen in one year, especially when you’ve got missing players," Sanders said on his morale. "I’ll just keep working for me and my teammates and play hard for me and my teammates."
Winless in 2016 and no break in sight on the schedule, Rutgers hosts top-10 Iowa next.
"Our team is not giving up," Jordan said. "I'm not saying that for you guys. I'm saying that because it's the truth. I'll be the first one to say if they've given up. Believe me."