Drexel (2-1) at Rutgers (3-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 19, 7:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The RAC (8,000) -- Piscataway, New Jersey. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Drexel 0-0, Rutgers 3-0. Away Record: Drexel 1-1, Rutgers 0-1. Neutral Record: Drexel 0-0, Rutgers 0-0. Conference Record: Drexel 0-0, Rutgers 0-0. Series Record: Rutgers leads, 13-1.
GAMES NOTES: With a chance to play at Madison Square Garden next Wednesday on the line, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights will take on the Drexel Dragons in regional round play of the NIT Season Tip-Off at the RAC.
Led by 22 points from Chris Fouch, the Dragons were able to dispense with Elon in the opening round of the event on Monday night. The Dragons sustained a late rally from the Phoenix but were able to claim the 71-64 decision. The win was the second straight for the Dragons, who are now 2-1 on the campaign with Monday's win and a triumph over Illinois State (78-70) in their previous contest.
Kadeem Jack and Wally Judge each posted a double-double as Rutgers was able to ride a strong second half to pull out a 66-51 win over Canisius in the event's first round on Monday night. With the victory, the Scarlet Knights have won back-to-back games and are now 3-1 in their first season under head coach Eddie Jordan, a former Rutgers guard himself.
The Dragons led by as many as 16 points in the second half but had that advantage slashed to just two points with just under six minutes to play. A 10-2 spurt gave the Dragons breathing room down the stretch and allowed them to escape with the victory.
Fouch (19.7 ppg) continues to be the leading offensive option for the Dragons, who rely heavily on contributions from the backcourt. Fouch has only hit 6- of-20 attempts from beyond the arc on the campaign and is netting just over 40 percent from the field overall. Damion Lee (14.7 ppg) is also showing some uneven tendencies as he is netting just 36.1 percent from the field. Lee looked more in rhythm against Elon as he netted 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting. Frantz Massenat (12.3 ppg, 5.0 apg) had a down game against Elon with just five points. Kazembe Abif (8.3 ppg, 10.0 rpg) anchors the team down low, while Tavon Allen (10.7 ppg) provides a spark off the bench.
Jack finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds and Judge added 11 points and 12 boards in the Scarlet Knights' win on Monday night. Although their contributions were important, it was Rutgers' defensive efforts in the second half that led to the victory. In the final 20 minutes the Scarlet Knights held Canisius to just 24.3 percent from the field.
Rutgers is scoring a healthy 76.5 points per game this season, despite struggling both from the field and beyond the arc. As a team the Scarlet Knights are shooting 42.9 percent from the field, while knocking down just 29.3 percent from 3-point range. Jack (18.0 ppg, 8.5 rpg) has really been a strong performer on the interior as the team's leading scorer and rebounder. Judge (8.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg) and J.J. Moore (11.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg) give the Scarlet Knights a really strong nucleus on the interior. Myles Mack (13.8 ppg, 4.0 apg, 3.0 apg) is doing a good job of filling up the stat sheet as well, but he has not been as proficient from the field as he was a year ago, netting just 31.3 percent of his shots from the field. Jerome Seagears (8.8 ppg) runs with Mack in the backcourt and is coming off his best game of the year, as he scored 15 points, handed out nine assists and brought down five rebounds against Canisius.
The Dragons really hounded Elon's backcourt in their victory so Seagears and Mack need to be at top form. If they can handle the pressure, then Jack, Judge and Moore should take care of the rest.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Rutgers 69, Drexel 62
11/19 10:55:26 ET