With under four minutes to go in the first half against the eighth-ranked Georgetown Hoyas, Rutgers' swing-man Dane Miller had some difficulty laying the ball into the hoop in front of the Rutgers' student section. He missed a layup, tapped it up for a second miss, and finally tapped it home for a seemingly pedestrian first half bucket.
Little did we know, the tap in would be a sign of things to come.
With seconds remaining, it took Miller only one try, the one try he had, to fly in and tip in a Mike Rosario miss to put the Scarlet Knights up a point. Some clutch free throw shooting, and an unanswered Austin Freeman 3-point prayer, gave the Knights an improbable upset victory over Georgetown.
This was a much needed win for the Knights and their maligned coach Fred Hill Jr. Knight fans have chanted for his termination more than occasionally at the RAC this season, and the message board communities are already critiquing the in-game coaching strategies of possible coaching replacements as their respective teams win and lose games.
However, Hill and his boys threw a monkey wrench into the whole thing by beating the Hoyas on Valentine's Day. The RAC was loud. The fans had energy. The team played inspired. The offense looked in sync. In short, they looked like a well-coached and talented team.
The issue that has faced Fred Hill and his team since his hiring has been that of consistency.
The Knights have risen up in the Fred Hill era before. They had back-to-back minumental upsets of Villanova and Pittsburgh in the 2008 season. The Knights however, haven't ever been able to gain momentum from these wins.
It seems odd, but the fate of the Fred Hill era may rest on a seemingly meaningless game on Tuesday night at DePaul.
The Blue Demons sport the Big East's worst record, and fired their coach midway this season.
More than occasionally under Fred Hill, the Knights have looked lackadaisical, poorly coached, and unmotivated against teams like DePaul. Those are qualities unaccepable for a team of this poor of record.
In the end, it is those kinds of losses, the type that may take place at DePaul this Tuesday, that will be what Hill will be left to mull over if he is indeed fired by Rutgers University.
However, if the Knights are able to keep the momentum rolling and beat an inferior team in DePaul, it may be a good sign for Fred Hill.
Has the former assistant figured out how to motivate and get the most out of his team? Or, is the win against Georgetown a fluke in an otherwise dismal season at Rutgers?
I'll be watching Tuesday night at 9.
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