With the Big East schedule just about upon the Knights, Rutgers fans are beginning to sweat the awful performances of the Knights in recent days. Could Rutgers give fans some reason to believe that they just might be able to play basketball this season?
At first Rutgers did just that ... they dominated a team that they should dominate.
That, unfortunately, just lasted till about 10 minutes were gone in the first half. For a while at least RU looked good. Jerome Coleman was starting to show his old magic in the first half but it was Herve Lamizana who stepped up to fill the void, hitting for 11 points in a little over 10 minutes. RU led by 11.
But then RU shifted into reverse.
In no time the PV Panthers closed the score to a one point differential and then, after an RU foul shot, Prairie View tied it with a two pointer with five minutes to go in the first half.
Ricky Shields got the lead back for RU with a "three" but the "one and six" Panthers simply outplayed the Knights going up by as much as seven. Only the hot shooting of Lamizana (15 first half points) allowed RU to cut the Prairie View lead to three by halftime.
By halftime the Knights had hit only 3 of 20 three point shots. Lamizana had been a one man team for the Scarlet. In addition to his 15 points he had 3 blocks and 5 rebounds in the first half.
The Knights started to show some juice in the opening minutes of the second half but the going was tough. Rutgers pressure, a Coleman three and a pumped up RAC could only manage to cut the Prairie View lead to 2 five minutes into the period.
Jerome Coleman led the Knights with 23 points (AP Photo)
However, it was at that point that the Knights finally came alive. With Herve, Coleman and Mike Sherrod leading the way RU built up a six point lead with 11 to go in the game.
But it wasn't over yet. The Panthers made a late game surge to cut it to 5 with two minutes to go in the game.
Jerome Coleman hit a floater with a minute and a half to go while Ricky Shields hit two fouls shots to put the Knights up by 9 with little over a minute left. The Panthers couldn't respond, leaving the final score 66-57.
Rutgers improves to 8-3.
Jerome Coleman led all scorers with 23 points. Herve Lamizana had a career high 22. Herve also added 11 rebounds and 4 blocks.
Prairie View (1-7), which lost its seventh straight game, gave Rutgers all it could handle before the Scarlet Knights (8-3) prevailed. Rutgers has won five of its last six games.
Jerome Coleman scored 23 points for Rutgers despite shooting 8-for-25 from the floor. Coleman had two key baskets in the final three minutes after Prairie View had cut an 11-point lead to five with 2:29 left.
Rutgers Defeats Prairie View
Mike Fasano: MikeFasano@comcast.net
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