Rutgers will try to snap a five-game losing streak against Division I competition when it hosts Princeton on Wednesday night. The Scarlet Knights are floundering in the early portion of their first season under Eddie Jordan, most notably in a home loss to Fairleigh Dickinson on Nov. 26 that raised eyebrows across the nation. Forward Kadeem Jack told the Daily Targum after Rutgers’ most recent loss to Seton Hall that the team “doesn’t know how to win.”
It’s been the opposite narrative for Princeton, which has ripped off five straight wins on its way to its best start since 1997-98. The Tigers have leaned on balanced scoring with five players averaging in double figures, but their best player statistically is questionable for the game. T.J. Bray is averaging 13.7 points. five rebounds and five assists in three games this season, but a preseason hand injury has limited his playing time, and after three strong performances, Bray did not play in the Tigers’ most recent win over Fairleigh Dickinson.
ABOUT PRINCETON (6-1): One boon for the Tigers has been the addition of freshman forward Spencer Weisz, who racked up 17 points and 10 rebounds against Fairleigh Dickinson. Weisz has started all but one game for Princeton, but the starting lineup hasn’t been the whole story for the Tigers. Denton Koon has come off the bench to average 12.1 points.
ABOUT RUTGERS (4-6): After a 3-1 start, Jordan is searching for answers having lost five of six, with the lone win coming against Division II Stillman College. Defense has been the biggest issue — the Knights are allowing 75.9 points per game, among the bottom-third in the nation. If Rutgers can get the defense sorted out, offensively, Jordan has legitimate talents in Myles Mack (15.5 points) and Kadeem Jack (14.6 points, 7.3 rebounds).
1. Rutgers is 0-2 against in-state opponents this season.
2. The teams meet for the 120th time on Wednesday, with the Tigers leading the all-time series 74-45.
3. Princeton is looking for its first back-to-back wins at Rutgers since 1997 and 1999.
PREDICTION: Princeton 77, Rutgers 71