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Rutgers men take Tar Heels to the wire

The Rutgers men’s basketball team held it’s own against North Carolina, staying in the game until the final buzzer.

The Rutgers men’s basketball team traveled to Tobacco Road last night to take on the #9 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels. On paper, many would believe Rutgers had no business playing the Tar Heels and would end up getting blown out. As we all know, in sports, whats on paper doesnt always match up.

The Scarlet Knights did fall to the Tar Heels by a score of 81-67 but the game was much closer then the score. Rutgers played hard the entire game, never letting North Carolina put them away. Fred Hill’s squad looked confident and showed the country they may not be the pushover many believed them to be.

Rutgers came out before a crowd of 21, 023 at the Dean Dome and fought hard, making the Tar Heels play until the final buzzer. I am not one for moral victories, but this game should give the Rutgers Scarlet Knights a lot of confidence as they begin Big East play this weekend.

Mike Rosario led Rutgers with 22 points on 10 of 21 shooting. Rutgers finished with a 42.9 field goal percentage. Jonathan Mitchell and freshman Dane Miller were also in double digit scoring for Rutgers. The difference in this game was size. Rutgers had no match for the size that North Carolina brings around the basket. Center Hamady Ndiaye was limited to 21 minutes due to foul trouble. North Carolina took advantage when the nation’s leading shot blocker was on the bench. The size advantage also allowed the Tar Heels to have a major free throw advantage. North Carolina shot 35 free throws while Rutgers only had nine.

Another difference in the game was shooting behind the arc. Rutgers was just 3 of 23 from three points range while North Carolina was 3 of 7 from the same distance.

The Scarlet Knights defense was working hard, flying around and mixing man to man with some zone. Rutgers forced North Carolina to turn the ball over 16 times in the game.

At one point in the second half, Rutgers was in a 17 point deficit. They continued to fight, rallying to pull within four. That was however as close as they would get. The clock ran low and Rutgers had to foul. The Tar Heels hit their foul shots and pulled away a little bit toward the eventual 81-67 North Carolina victory.

Rutgers may not be ready to compete for any titles, but they at least showed they can play with some of the top teams in the country. The Big East conference will now know Rutgers is at least going to show up to play. They will not roll over against top competition.

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