Piscataway, N.J. – Rutgers’ hopes of getting to New York and the “Final Four” of the NIT Season Tip-Off were dashed by a solid Drexel team. The Dragons earned the trip, defeating the Scarlet Knights 70-59 on their Rutgers Athletic Center home court on Tuesday.
Three points of emphasis from this one:
1. Loss of focus. The game was physical and the Rutgers players seemed to let that be a distraction to their game plan. “I told our guys every timeout, concentrate on making basketball plays,” said Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan. “They (Drexel) were physical, but they ran their stuff and executed. The were not bothered by the physical play. That is what an experienced team does.”
2. Tavon Allen was a factor. When Rutgers regrouped from an early second-half deficit to cut it to one midway through the final twenty minutes, Allen took over. He basically ensured Rutgers would not get that lead and the Dragons ultimately pulled away. And, as Drexel coach Bruiser Flint pointed out, his club was fighting off Rutgers’ momentum and was in foul trouble. The 6-6 sophomore finished with a game-high 21 points.
3. Help wanted. Kadeem Jack put up nice numbers at 13 points, 10 boards for Rutgers. Jordan will be the first to tell you the 6-9 junior needs a complementary scorer. Make that a consistent complimentary point producer. Drexel defended Myles Mack (3 of 7 shooting for nine points) very well and the Scarlet Knights did not have another option.