Nigel Johnson enjoyed certain moments of a game in front of his home crowd Tuesday night, but the No. 14 haunts him and the rest of Rutgers basketball on a long bus ride home from College Park, Md.
Fourteen stands for the number of missed free throws in a game Rutgers lost 67-55 to No. 22 Maryland.
“We stopped them,” Johnson said. “We held them to 67 points. We did well offensively. We just have to capitalize on our free throws. We missed more free throws than we made by a large amount. Whenever you do that, it doesn't matter who you're playing.”
Rutgers more than competed against the Terps with multiple first-half leads. When Maryland jumped out to a nine-point lead after halftime, Rutgers never fought back with too many missed opportunities at the line.
“You've got to make your free ones,” Johnson said. “They're free, nobody guarding you. Those are the easiest points we're going to get. We shot 10-for-24 from the line and when you do that, it's going to be hard to win no matter how well you're playing defensively or offensively.”
Johnson himself scored 14 points on 5-for-11 shooting in a game from his backyard.
“It's always when you get to come home, especially when you've been away,” said Johnson, who will be back home again in March for the Big Ten Tournament. “I'm not home that much. Coming and playing in front of a lot of friends is always good.”