William & Mary (1-3) at Rutgers (3-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 23, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The RAC (8,000) -- Piscataway, New Jersey. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: William & Mary 1-1, Rutgers 3-1. Away Record: William & Mary 0-2, Rutgers 0-1. Neutral Record: William & Mary 0-0, Rutgers 0-0. Conference Record: William & Mary 0-0, Rutgers 0-0. Series Record: Rutgers leads, 5-0.
GAMES NOTES: In a Saturday afternoon matchup between non-conference foes the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and William & Mary Tribe will tip off at the RAC.
The Tribe split their first two games of the year but have since slid into a two-game rut with losses in consecutive games. The first was a 79-62 setback against Wichita State. That loss was followed by an 80-69 disappointment against at home against High Point. William & Mary will be back home on Wednesday against VMI.
Rutgers looked to be picking up steam, with back-to-back wins, before they were unceremoniously set aside at home by Drexel, 70-59, during a NIT Season Tip- Off subregional matchup. The Scarlet Knights are now an uneven 3-2 in their first five games under head coach Eddie Jordan. The Scarlet Knights will continue play in the NIT Season Tip-Off, though in the consolation round against Stillman College.
These teams met five times during the 1970s but have not matched up since. Rutgers won all five of those battles, including a 79-71 triumph in the last meeting, which came in 1978.
The Tribe got themselves into a hole early and even a strong second half couldn't make up the difference against High Point. William & Mary went into the break trailing 43-29 after having seven fewer field goals than High Point in the first 20 minutes. The Tribe also got beat up inside suffering a 46-26 deficient on points in the paint.
Tim Rusthoven scored a game-high 20 points in the loss to High Point and Marcus Thornton added 18. The duo have been two of the very few consistent performers for the Tribe this season. Rusthoven, a 6-foot-9 forward, is averaging 13.3 points per game but desperately needs to improve his work on the glass (3.5 rpg). Thornton (20.0 ppg) is a 20-point threat every night and has been the go-to option on offense. Omar Prewitt (14.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 3.3 apg) can score, pass and rebound as the third member of the team to be averaging in double figures. The Tribe don't have much depth though as only six players are playing more than 20 minutes per game. That hasn't stopped the Tribe from shooting at a 47.6 percent clip from the field.
The Scarlet Knights struggled to keep up with the Dragons' talented backcourt on Tuesday. Rutgers suffered a 16-6 deficit in points in transition and was also outscored (24-12) from beyond the arc. Kadeem Jack posted a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, but needed 13 shots to get there.
The Scarlet Knights are currently sporting a +1.8 scoring differential by scoring 73 points per game on 42.3 percent shooting. Jack (17.0 ppg, 8.8 rpg) has consistently scored and rebounded well for the Scarlet Knights, leading them in both categories. The 6-foot-9 forward is hitting 57.6 percent of his shots from the field and has three double-doubles with two coming over the last two games. Myles Mack (12.8 ppg, 3.6 apg) provides a decent scoring compliment to Jack in the backcourt though he has not been shooting well. Mack has connected on just 32.7 percent of his field goal tries. J.J. Moore (114 ppg, 5.4 rpg) has helped give the Scarlet Knights another double-figure scoring option, while three other players averaging at least eight points per game provide even more depth.
With their larger rotation of contributors the Scarlet Knights have a decided advantage over the Tribe, who are too reliant on Rusthoven and Thornton and too shallow overall.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Rutgers 73, William & Mary 62
11/23 10:36:26 ET