Fairleigh Dickinson (1-6) vs. Rutgers (4-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 26, 7:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The RAC (8,000) -- Piscataway, New Jersey. Television: None. Home Record: Fairleigh Dickinson 1-1, Rutgers 4-2. Away Record: Fairleigh Dickinson 0-3, Rutgers 0-1. Neutral Record: Fairleigh Dickinson 0-2, Rutgers 0-0. Conference Record: Fairleigh Dickinson 0-0, Rutgers 0-0. Series Record: Rutgers leads, 9-1
GAMES NOTES: The Rutgers Scarlet Knights will finish off the NIT Season Tip- Off at the RAC on Tuesday night, as they match up with the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights in a consolation contest.
It's back to the drawing board yet again for Fairleigh Dickinson, which hasn't been on the winning side in six straight games since topping Division II Caldwell, 89-71, in the season opener. Last night, the Knights were dealt a 70-62 blow by Norfolk State, which to their credit was their second-straight loss by less than 10 points.
The time the Scarlet Knights have spent in the Tip-Off event has led to uneven results. Rutgers defeated Canisius, 66-51, in the tournament opener, but then lost back-to-back games to Drexel (70-59) and William & Mary (72-62). Rutgers righted the ship in consolation play with a 116-89 triumph over Stillman on Monday night.
In 10 total meetings between these two teams, Rutgers has come away with a win nine times, including a 79-65 decision in 2010.
Fairleigh Dickinson dug itself into a deep hole in the first half and never recovered in its loss to Norfolk State. The Knights entered the locker room at halftime trailing 39-22 after logging only eight field goals in the first 20 minutes. The Knights only made 35.6 percent of their field goal tries in the game.
As is expected for a team with so few wins and so many losses, the Knights have not been scoring at a particularly impressive rate. Fairleigh Dickinson is dropping in only 65.4 points per game while suffering from a rather large scoring differential (-13). Sidney Sanders Jr. (16.0 ppg, 4.4 apg) is the only real offensive threat on the roster. Sanders Jr. scored a game-high 19 points against Norfolk State but he needed 19 shots to record that total. Mustafaa Jones (10.6 ppg) is the only other double-digit scorer, as well as a dangerous shooter from beyond the arc, where he has knocked down 19-of-41 attempts this season.
Eddie Jordan's Scarlet Knights were unstoppable down low against Stillman on Monday, holding a 52-32 edge on the boards and a 56-22 advantage on points in the paint. Rutgers also scored 22 points on second-chance opportunities and hit 11-of-22 shots from beyond the arc.
Perhaps the most important thing to come out of Rutgers' win over the Tigers was the re-emergence of Myles Mack. Though Mack is the second-leading scorer on the roster (14.4 ppg), he is shooting at a miserable 38.5 percent from the floor. That number got a boost on Monday as he hit 8-of-12 shots from the field to rack up 23 points. The key will be continuing to find success against superior opponents. Kadeem Jack (15.6 ppg, 7.9 rpg) took a back seat in the contest and finished with only 10 points, while Wally Judge (9.1 ppg, 7.7 rpg) made his presence felt more than in any other game with a 20-point, 13-rebound effort.
It remains to be seen if Mack really has shaken off the rust, but against another inferior foe the Scarlet Knights won't need another 20-point eruption to earn a victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Rutgers 88, Fairleigh Dickinson 67
11/26 10:34:59 ET