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Preview: Army at Rutgers

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Rutgers looks to win back-to-back games for the second time this season on Sunday when the Scarlet Knights host Army, which has won two straight following a five-game losing streak. The Scarlet Knights received good news this week when Georgetown forward Greg Whittington announced his intention to transfer to Rutgers, but he won’t be eligible until next season. Whittington's decision created some much-needed positive buzz for Rutgers, which has struggled against Division I competition while trying to recover from a tumultuous offseason.

The Scarlet Knights’ primary focus Sunday will be to slow down Army forward Kyle Wilson, who was named the Patriot League’s player of the week after scoring 24 points in a 90-80 win at Maine on Dec. 13. Wilson, last season’s top freshman in the Patriot League, ranks fourth in the conference at 17.3 points per game. The Black Knights have struggled on defense, where they’re allowing a conference-worst 78.7 points per game and have a minus-3.3 rebounding margin.

TV: 2 p.m. ET, ESPN3

ABOUT ARMY (3-6): Coach Zach Spiker is looking for a better defensive effort on Sunday after his team allowed Maine to score 80 points on 51.7 percent shooting in their last outing. The Black Knights are shooting 29.2 percent from 3-point range, but Wilson and guards Mo Williams and Josh Herbeck clearly have the green light to keep firing away. Center Kevin Ferguson is shooting 69.6 percent and averaging 10.6 points and six rebounds while leading the Patriot League with 25 blocked shots.

ABOUT RUTGERS (5-7): Guard Myles Mack has scored at least 20 points in four straight games, and he had 21 points and eight assists in an 89-72 win over UNC-Greensboro on Dec. 14. Forward Kadeem Jack (14.8 points, 7.1 rebounds) had 18 points in the win, which snapped the Scarlet Knights’ six-game losing streak against Division I competition. Nine players average at least nine minutes for Rutgers, including 6-9 forward Wally Judge, who emerged from a brief slump by shooting 9-for-11 over the last two games.

TIP-INS

1. Army is 3-40 in its last 43 games when allowing at least 80 points.

2. The teams are meeting for the first time since Rutgers won 72-70 in the first round of the 1978 NIT.

3. Army is 58-28 since the start of the 2007-08 season when leading at halftime.

PREDICTION: Rutgers 79, Army 68

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/131222/preview-army-at-rutgers