Rutgers Hits the Road for Challenge at GW

Wally Judge

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Rutgers returns after eight days off following the ugly lead-in to Thanksgiving break. Taking on a hot George Washington team on the road, Rutgers basketball coach Eddie Jordan players look forward to two key returners and a chance to add a quality win.

Losing to William & Mary and Fairleigh Dickinson was "unacceptable" for Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan, and his players feel the same way.

Given time for reflection during the Thanksgiving holidays, fifth-year senior Wally Judge said the attitude is changed with a less-than-desirable start and embarrassing home losses.

"In my opinion, every loss is unacceptable because when we have everything in order and everyone healthy and everyone on the same page, we can compete with anyone in the country," Judge said. "We have size, speed, guards who can score, bigs who can score.

"It's our mental (state) that has let us down in these last couple of games. We have to find a way to rebuild that."

Rutgers (4-4) does not see its path getting any easier tonight with a game against George Washington. GW comes off an upset over ranked Crieghton, and has the attention of the Scarlet Knights.

The Colonials (6-1) also have the attention of the roster with the change to add the first "quality win" of the year.

"We're always optimistic, we're always positive," Judge said. "What's in the past is in the past. Eight games into the season is no time to hang your head. Any time could be a big turnaround. We've seen teams like Villanova do it before."

Rutgers does not want to make excuses, but the returns tonight of Kadeem Jack (ankle) and Craig Brown (eye) change the dynamic.

"The mindset is still improving each day," Jordan said. "Trying to execute and stay high-level intensity and high-level intelligence when things get tough. … It's the same message. You just have to stick to the adversity."

Rutgers has plenty of ties to the Washington, D.C., area and plays its only game of the year there tonight against George Washington.

Jordan and associate head coach David Cox spent time in the nation's capital, and Judge, Jerome Seagears, Greg Lewis and Junior Etou all spent time nearby in high school.

"I'm looking forward to playing no matter where it is," Jordan said. "It's not really extra incentive, just extra tickets [for family members]. … I just looked at it as a game that we want to play well in against a very good opponent. The head coach is an alumnus from my high school so it's going to be a really good rivalry there. It's going to be fun."

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