Passion has never been an issue for the eccentric CJ Gettys during his graduate-transfer season at Rutgers. Co-founder of the “Ghost Gang” and a valuable leader for Rutgers basketball, Gettys put his emotions on display in front of a season-high 5,081 at the RAC.
While Gettys took his energy a step too far during a costly technical foul, the 7-footer sparked struggling Rutgers on its back in a 72-58 grind-it-out win over Morgan State.
“I don't know what [the official] saw but he made the call and we can only respect that,” Gettys said. “It got the crowd going. It was a great attendance tonight, and without our fans the energy would be low. We take home-court advantage seriously.”
Captain DeShawn Freeman helped Gettys dominate the offensive game plan inside. Yet another double double for the team captain, Freeman made half of his shots from the floor with team-highs in points (22) and rebounds (12).
“I was nervous obviously about this game, but these two guys really game to play as the whole team did,” said coach Steve Pikiell. “We held the team 29 percent, 18 percent [shooting] from 3-point land. We out-rebounded them by 10. We were ready to play and worked hard.
Gettys tied his career high in points with 15. He made all seven of his shots from the floor.
“Ghost gang, you know how that goes,” Gettys said on his relationship with Freeman. “I think it all correlates. You have that camaraderie off the court and it's going to correlate on the court. You learn how to feed off one another, high lows. I know he's going to shoot the ball and I'm going to get the rebound or he knows I'm going to shoot the ball and he's going to get the rebound. I think we have something great in the working here.”
Rutgers finished with a 50-40 rebound advantage but it was not always that large. The Scarlet Knights gave up 16 offensive boards to Morgan State with Freeman as the only player in double figures.
“Most definitely, it's a bit confusing,” Freeman said. “We were No. 1 leading rebound team and to give up that many rebounds kind of hurt us. That's why we have practice tomorrow.”