Rutgers a Work in Progress Following Win Over Drexel
Rutgers men’s basketball is now 3-0, the Scarlet Knights defeating Drexel 62-57 on Wednesday night. It wasn’t a big win in terms of margin for Rutgers, but the team is taking some positives from having to slug it out to remain undefeated.
It was a balanced effort from Rutgers, with three players in double-digits, led by 13 points a piece by Ron Harper Jr. and Geo Baker.
Head coach Steve Pikiell said after the game that the team “grinded out a good win…and I like to grind.” It was a bit closer of a game than many thought, given that Drexel was 13-19 a year ago and Rutgers is thought to be ready to take a dramatic leap forward this year. But Pikiell cautioned that they are a team on the rise and boasts continuity.
"I mean they have the best point guard in the CAA, the rookie of the year last year. You know you have to have screen coverage against that team,” Pikiell said.
“They shoot threes and multiple guys, so whenever you play a team that has multiple guys shooting threes, with a precision point guard, and [James] Butler is the best big guy in that league. They pose many problems. They have size and good coaches. I felt we weathered the storm and had a couple of runs. They went on a run and we went on a run to finish it out, but I like that down the stretch in the last four minutes, we sat down and guarded and made some big stops when we had to."
Perhaps the game shows that Rutgers is still a work in progress as well. There were several lead changes in the first half and Drexel always stayed within striking range of their Big Ten opponent.
While Rutgers is considered a team that could and should be challenging for a postseason berth, they are still developing and seeking an identity.
“We’re still figuring some things out too,” Pikiell said. “I like our grit, I like that we went on a roll with our stops at the end of the game.”