There were flashes of offensive fluidity — an 17-0 run and 60-percent shooting from the field in the first half, as well as contributions from 11 different scorers.
But not enough for Rutgers head men’s basketball coach Eddie Jordan, who says the Scarlet Knights still have much to build on after their 86-42 preseason exhibition win Saturday against Baruch College at the Louis Brown Athletic Center.
“We need improve and I thought our conditioning needs to get better,” Jordan said. “We wanted to dictate the tempo and we had it in spurts, but not for a majority of the game. There’s a lot for us to work on.”
Four Knights finished in double figures, with sophomore wing Junior Etou scoring a team-high 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting with two 3-pointers.
Junior transfer guard Bishop Daniels jumpstarted the action with nine of Rutgers’ first 15 points in less than five minutes. He tallied 11 points, four rebounds, two assists and a block in 16 minutes to pace the Knights’ backcourt.
The 6-foot-3 Daniels showed off the athleticism Jordan raved about Oct. 21 at Media Day — no more prominently than on his lone basket of the second half.
Off a Barush turnover, Daniels and senior guard Myles Mack exchanged four passes in transition before Daniels finished with an emphatic slam at the rim 19 seconds into the period.
“You can expect a lot of that this year,” Daniels said. “That’s what we plan on doing: forcing turnovers and getting up and down the floor.”
The Knights were without senior forward Kadeem Jack, who continues to rehab a preseason thumb injury. Jordan said Jack will be reevaluated Friday and Saturday and is questionable for next Sunday’s season opener against George Washington.
Junior forward Greg Lewis collected 11 points and five boards, while freshman D.J. Foreman tallied 12 points, six boards and three assists with an extended run at the 4-spot in the second half.
Logging 22 minutes, the 6-foot-8, 230-pound versatile forward showed a consistent ability to attack the paint and get to the rim. Foreman went 5-for-7 from the field with four turnovers.
“I could’ve finished a little bit better,” he said. “I wasn’t as aggressive as I should be. I’m going to get in the gym and work on that.”
Rutgers won the rebounding battle by 18, with freshman center Shaquille Doorson leading all players with 15 boards.
“We’re just trying to different guys in Kadeem’s position — Kerwin, Malick, D.J. — and we’ll see who emerges through the week and see who gets the call on Sunday,” Jordan said. “I don’t know yet.”
The chemistry continues to come along with a half-new roster, which emphasized defense, crossing in transition and post-entry passes, Foreman said.
“We want to be what we call as team lockdown,” Daniels said. “Every time you step out there on the court, you’ve got to have that mentality of defense first. I’m not saying we don’t necessarily have the offensive pieces to go and compete with everybody, but defensively-wise, if we can disrupt a lot of things, it creates more offense for us.”
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- Greg Johnson / Sports Editor