The losing streak continues. Now at four in a row after a 78-73 home loss to Princeton, Rutgers is trending in the wrong direction with conference play less than a month from tipping off.
“I don’t know if there’s any magic potion, but to work through it,” said coach Eddie Jordan on the losing streak. “Keep your confidence and have trust in it. It starts with me. I have to come in every day, and be positive and be energetic, and they have to follow my lead.”
The story Wednesday, though Rutgers showed improvement, was an inability to defend the perimeter. Princeton spaced the floor with quick precision, and shot an astounding 16-for-34 from long range.
Rutgers held the lead multiple times in the second half, and hit six straight shots to start the second half. The Scarlet Knights led by as much as five before Princeton heated up with a 16-6 run.
Junior guard Myles Mack led the charge for Rutgers with an improved offensive effort. Mack scored 14 of his 21 points in the first half with a team-high five assists in 34 minutes.
“Everybody was fine in June and July and August, and now that it’s happening you have to stick with it,” Jordan said on the losing streak. “You have to stay positive, you know what it’s about and you just have to keep your game plan intact on how you’re going to move forward in the season.”
Jordan stuck with the same offensive rotation, despite dressing sophomore guard Kerwin Okoro for the first time this season. Okoro did not play, but is close to returning from knee surgery.
“It will be a great boost,” Mack said on Okoro’s return. “I think he’s going to come back on Saturday, so we’re looking forward to that.”
Rutgers (4-7) gets its next shot to end the streak Saturday against UNC Greensboro (4-5). After losing to Drexel kept Rutgers away from Madison Square Garden and George Washington dropped the Scarlet Knights below .500, an answer needs to come fast if a postseason tournament is to remain in the mix during conference play.
“I don’t think no team ever expects to struggle coming out of the gate,” Mack said. “We have confidence in everything we do like every other team, and we just came up on the bad side.”