Final thoughts from Rutgers basketball’s road loss to Miami: Missed ‘gimmes’

Steve Pikiell is taking a half-glass-full approach to Rutgers latest slip.

Despite his team blowing an 11-point second-half lead in a road loss against Miami on Wednesday, the head coach “feels really good” about where the Scarlet Knights are at. He points to the fact that, despite holding and losing a double-digit lead with 14 minutes to play, they were in a one-possession game with 90 seconds remaining on the road against a good team.

Rutgers (5-2) was “right where we needed to be,” but it fell just short because it could not “finish our plays” and “get the key stops.”


So to Pikiell, the 68-61 loss to the Hurricanes in Coral Gables — his team’s 19th loss in its last 25 true road games with fans in the stands dating back to the 2019-20 season — was not a missed opportunity at grabbing an all-important Quad 1 victory that could prove crucial come March.

“This is a learning opportunity,” he said in his post-game press conference. “… Just excited how this team is kind of developing. I know it’s not the outcome I wanted today but I also knew we were playing one of the most talented teams in the country.”

Miami will not be the last good team Rutgers faces this season, nor will it be the best. The Scarlet Knights get an even bigger test coming up on Saturday, when they host No. 10 Indiana in their Big Ten opener in Piscataway, and there are a lot of lessons to learn (and a key recovery to hope for) in the next 72 hours between games.

Here are some of them in the form of our final thoughts from the Scarlet Knights’ loss to the Hurricanes:

Paul Mulcahy was desperately missed: The veteran point guard made the trip to Florida and participated in the pre-game shootaround on Wednesday afternoon, but still missed a fourth consecutive game with a shoulder injury. Pikiell confirmed the Bayonne native is dealing with a stinger — in other words, a pinched nerve — and that he has yet to be cleared to practice with contact. He did not have a timeline for Mulcahy’s return.

“When his arm feels better, he’ll be back on the floor, but right now, that’s not where it is,” Pikiell said. “He has to practice full contact before he can do anything. He hasn’t done that yet.”

Rutgers vs. Columbia men’s basketball

The moment where Mulcahy initially suffered his shoulder injury in the season opener against Columbia. He grabbed at his shoulder after the play.Andrew Mills | NJ Advance Media for

Rutgers will hope he returns sooner than later.

Mulcahy’s absence was felt throughout the evening, but especially in the final quarter of the game. The Scarlet Knights’ offense stagnated completely, turning the ball over seven times in the final 12 minutes and missing 16 of their final 19 shots. They were outscored 28-11 in that span, with 11 of Miami’s points coming directly off of turnovers.

“They converted our turnovers to lay ups,” Pikiell said, later adding that he…

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Read More: Final thoughts from Rutgers basketball’s road loss to Miami: Missed ‘gimmes’ 2022-12-01 12:30:00

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