Three Thoughts: Saint Francis U. 73, Rutgers 68

Saint Francis U. upset Rutgers 73-68 Saturday. The Red Flash are now 6-4, coming off good wins against Duquesne and Rutgers.

Note: This is a guest post from Harrison Malkin

Rutgers took the lead right from the get go, and had a 16-point lead at one point in the first half, but as the first 20 minutes wound down Saint Francis University cut the Scarlet Knights’ lead to a few points. Saint Francis got off to a hot start in the second and went up by double digits, but the Scarlet Knights quickly came back before the Red Flash held on for the victory.

Here are some thoughts about the game:

1. How good is Saint Francis? – Saint Francis beat Duquesne on Wednesday night by 15 points thanks to a stellar performances by their star Earl Brown. On Saturday, The Red Flash played well on all levels and defeated Rutgers, a team that has been up and down this season, but has had some good wins against Clemson and Vanderbilt. Saint Francis’s losses this season for the most part have been against solid team’s like Texas and Cincinnati, and the other games the team has lost were in very close fashion. It is hard to tell how good Saint Francis really is this early in the season, but the Red Flash have a winning record and boast some good wins on their resume going into conference play.

Saint Francis head coach Rob Krimmel said after the game, “I’m proud of where our guys came, come in here and battled, followed the scouting reports, stayed together and played with energy and passion for forty minutes.”

2. Earl Brown is key to Saint Francis’s success this season – While Earl Brown did not knock in the go-ahead and game-winning shots against Rutgers, Brown did contribute a bunch in the victory. He had a game-high 23 points and hit the 1,000 career points mark. The senior had 16 points in the team’s win against Duquesne and on the season as a whole he is averaging a bit over 14 ppg with a field goal percentage of 56%. Brown has made a huge mark on each and every game he has played in, and will be directly influential to the Red Flash’s success down the road.

3. Saint Francis’s defense was lock down and very important in the win – Saint Francis forced Rutgers to commit 12 turnovers in the game and the Red Flash capitalized and made the most of these opportunities. When the Red Flash were making their comeback from being down by sixteen points, the turnovers forced were essential, and the same is true when Saint Francis was able to take a 14-point lead in the second half.

“They (Rutgers) were making some shots and making it difficult for us to defend, and our guys didn’t get rattled,” coach Krimmel said. “That’s what got us back in the game, and ultimately I think it’s what won the game.”

Ed. Note: Saint Francis U. rose to 151st in KenPom right after the victory. The Red Flash are now projected to go 12-6 in the NEC. SFU now has 10 days off before it plays at NJIT on Dec. 30.

Thanks Harrison for the guest post! You can find him on Twitter.

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