Two weeks ago, Rutgers experienced the emotional high of defeating a ranked opponent.
A pair of gut-wrenching losses drained some of the buzz from the Scarlet Knights, who seek a bounce-back win Saturday afternoon when they host Wake Forest in Piscataway, N.J.
Rutgers’ four losses are by a combined 16 points with the last two coming in difficult fashion.
After pulling away in the second half for a 63-48 win over then-No. 10 Indiana, the Scarlet Knights (6-4) lost on a last-second 3-pointer in a 67-66 loss at Ohio State on Dec. 8 before struggling offensively Sunday in a 45-43 home loss to Seton Hall.
On Sunday, Rutgers allowed 34.1 percent shooting and forced 15 turnovers but conversely its offense failed it. The Scarlet Knights shot a dreadful 32.6 percent and committed 19 turnovers.
“We certainly didn’t make shots when we had the opportunities to. I don’t like to make any excuses, but maybe it played a role in us not playing that way,” Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said.
Aundre Hyatt led Rutgers with nine points but leading scorer Clifford Omoruyi was held to five on 1-of-5 shooting from the field.
Wake Forest (8-3) is seeking its second win over a Big Ten opponent after recording a 78-75 victory at Wisconsin on Nov. 29. Its win over the Badgers is among five games decided by three points or fewer, and the Demon Deacons are 3-2 in those games after getting a dramatic 67-66 win over visiting Appalachian State on Wednesday.
Andrew Carr, who averages 10.5 points, scored a season-high 20, and hit the buzzer-beating jumper after Wake Forest held a nine-point lead earlier in the second half. Before getting the lead, the Demon Deacons allowed 68 percent shooting at halftime and trailed by six.
“We’ve had some trouble closing out games but that’s something we have to continue to work on with this tough schedule we have coming up,” Carr said.
Carr’s game-winning basket occurred shortly after leading scorer Tyree Appleby was helped off the court with an ankle injury.
Appleby, who averages 18.7 points and scored 32 against Wisconsin, was playing through an ankle injury and could sit out Saturday’s game, according to coach Steve Forbes.
–Field Level Media