Eddie Jordan

Iowa guard Peter Jok (14) dunks a basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Rutgers, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, in Piscataway, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
AP Photo/Mel Evans

Jok has a career-high 29 as No. 9 Iowa beats Rutgers

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PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) Peter Jok scored a career-high 29 points and No. 9 Iowa shook off pesky Rutgers in the second half in posting a harder-than-expected 90-76 victory on Thursday night.

Jarrod Uthoff and Anthony Clemmons added 20 points apiece as the Hawkeyes (15-3, 6-0) won their eighth straight game and their 12th in a row in the Big Ten Conference, dating to last season.

Iowa used a zone defense late in the first half in a 16-7 run that gave it a 45-37 lead, and it opened the game up in the second half with its long-range shooting.

Mike Williams had 17 points to lead Rutgers (6-14, 0-7), which was coming off a 50-point loss to No. 22 Purdue on Monday, its worst home loss.

Jonathan Laurent, who was returning after missing four games with a concussion, added 14 points and Corey Sanders had 12 for the Scarlet Knights, who have lost their last 22 conference games, including tournament play.

Jok, who is the conference’s reigning player of the week, hit 10 of 19 from the field, and matched his season-high with five 3-pointers. He scored 10 of the Hawkeyes first 13 points and his last basket cut short Rutgers final rally.

His previous high was 24 points against Florida State earlier this season.

The Scarlet Knights put up a much better fight than against Purdue on Monday as they rallied from an 11-point first-half deficit and took a 30-29 lead on a basket by Williams with 4:26 to play.

Iowa soon switched to a zone and it opened a 45-37 lead as Clemmons scored six points and Jok and Uthoff added five in the 16-7 run.

The Hawkeyes were never threatened in the second half as Uthoff hit three 3-pointers in helping build a 19-point lead with 7:23 to play.

TIP-INS

Iowa: The Hawkeyes No. 9 ranking is the highest since Fran McCaffery took as the head coach in 2010, and the lowest since a No. 7 in November 2001. It also marks the first time Iowa has had its football and basketball teams ranked in the top 10 in the same season.

Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights picked up their board game just days after Purdue outrebounded them 69-23. Iowa only held a 38-33 advantage with Adam Woodbury leading the way with 11. D.J. Foreman had nine for Rutgers.

UP NEXT

Iowa hosts No. 22 Purdue on Saturday.

Rutgers visits Michigan on Wednesday.

Online:

AP college basketball website: http://collegebasketball.ap.org/

Four-star shooting guard Kwe Parker verbally commits to Rutgers

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While good news has been tough to come by for the Rutgers basketball program in recent years, head coach Eddie Jordan and his staff received a much-needed boost in the form of their first 2016 commitment Sunday afternoon.

Four-star shooting guard Kwe Parker announced on Twitter that he’s decided to join the Big Ten program. Once known primarily for his ability to finish well above the rim, the Charlotte native has made strides in other areas of his game including perimeter shooting. Along with current freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college transfer forward Deshawn Freeman, Parker gives the Scarlet Knights another option they can build around for the future.

“After months of contemplating on my college decision, I’ve chose [sic] to continue my basketball career with Coach Jordan at Rutgers University,” Parker tweeted.

Parker plays a position where the Scarlet Knights will lose two players at the end of the 2015-16 season in Bishop Daniels and Omari Grier. Guards who will have eligibility remaining beyond the 2015-16 season include Sanders, Kansas State transfer Nigel Johnson (junior who will sit out this season), Mike Williams (sophomore) and Justin Goode (freshman).

Parker picked Rutgers over Florida, Florida State and Wake Forest.

Former Bradley guard to complete eligibility at Rutgers

Darius Carter, Zach Brown, Omari Grier
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Rutgers’ first season as a member of the Big Ten wasn’t a smooth one by any stretch of the imagination, as they won just ten games (2-16 in conference play) and ranked at or near the bottom of many of the major statistical categories both offensively and defensively.

And with contributors such as Myles Mack and Kadeem Jack out of eligibility, there’s room for others to step forward in 2015-16. Friday afternoon Rutgers picked up an experienced guard who will look to earn a spot in their rotation as a graduate student.

Former Bradley guard Omari Grier, who averaged 7.9 points per game as a redshirt junior, announced that he’s decided to play his final season of college basketball at Rutgers. As a graduate student, Grier will be eligible to play immediately for the Scarlet Knights.

Grier, who played his freshman season at FAU before transferring to Bradley, started 11 of the 30 games he played in and averaged nearly 23 minutes of action per contest. Grier shot 37.8 percent from the field and 31.8 percent from beyond the arc for the Braves, and in his first season as a member of the program (2013-14) he scored 10.4 points per game.

Grier joins a Rutgers backcourt that, even with the loss of Mack, is a bit crowded from a numbers standpoint. Bishop Daniels and Mike Williams return from last season’s rotation, with freshmen Corey Sanders and Justin Goode joining the program this summer. Rutgers also adds Kansas State transfer Nigel Johnson, but he won’t be eligible to play in 2015-16.

In total Rutgers is adding seven players to the program, with wings Deshawn Freeman (junior college transfer), Jonathan Laurent and Kejuan Johnson having made their pledges as well. As of right now the program is one scholarship over the limit of 13 according to Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press, so the roster shuffling likely isn’t done at Rutgers.

Rutgers head coach Eddie Jordan graduates

Eddie Jordan
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Eddie Jordan was hired by Rutgers in 2013. The move was a wise one on the university’s part, bringing in an alumnus to take over the program in the wake of the Mike Rice scandal, which cost the coach and the athletic director their jobs.

Shortly after he was hired, it was revealed that Jordan, the MVP of the 1976 East Regional, had never received his degree from Rutgers. On Friday, Jordan graduated with a bachelor of science degree in Labor and Employment Relations inside the same building where he coaches.

Jordan had enrolled in classes in June 2013. However, the completion of his degree was made more difficult, as his major had been dropped by the university. Jordan had originally majored in Health and Physical Education.

In two seasons at his alma mater, Jordan has a 22-43 (7-29 Big Ten) record.

Rutgers head coach Eddie Jordan will earn his degree this spring

Eddie Jordan
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When Rutgers head coach Eddie Jordan took the job at his alma mater two years ago, he did so without having completed his bachelor’s degree from the university. Jordan, who majored in the now defunct physical education program at Rutgers, was 11 credits short of graduating when he left the school to go play in the NBA in 1977.

After taking the Rutgers job it was determined that Jordan had even more credits to complete in order to get his degree. So the head coach went to work as a student, while also running the men’s basketball program. In a fun read from Jerry Carino of the Ashbury Park Press, Jordan goes through the rigors of being a “student-coach” as he’s taken two summer classes and one class per regular semester during his tenure as Rutgers head coach.

Barring any unforseen setbacks, Jordan is expected to graduate in May and will walk with the rest of the student population at graduation. Jordan’s degree will be in Labor Studies and Employment Relations and he’s often been seen at study hall, with his players, working on papers or projects.

Jordan also learned some computer programs like Microsoft Word and Power Point as part of his education and he’s adapted well to being a student at the school while also remaining the head coach.

There are plenty of other great anecdotes in Carino’s story, and it’s nice to see a head coach at a power conference school going through the rigors of being a student himself and earning his degree.

Rutgers loses one player to transfer, adds 6-foot-6 high school senior

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With Kadeem Jack and Myles Mack out of eligibility, Rutgers was bound to undergo some changes this offseason. Thursday afternoon it was reported by multiple outlets that guard Kerwin Okoro will be leaving the program, in a decision that has been labeled as a “mutual decision.” Okoro, who began his college career at Iowa State, is the second player in the last week to transfer from Rutgers.

Sophomore forward Junior Etou made that decision last week, and Okoro’s departure means that each of the players who joined Eddie Jordan’s program when he took the reins in 2013 have moved on before the expiration of their eligibility. Two players (Craig Brown and D’Von Campbell) transferred after the 2013-14 season and J.J. Moore, who joined the program after graduating from Pittsburgh, was out of eligibility.

Okoro played in 17 games last season, averaging 2.0 points in 7.3 minutes of action per contest.

Also of note Thursday was Rutgers landing a verbal commitment from 6-foot-6 small forward Jonathan Laurent according to Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press. Laurent attends Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, and he joins point guard Corey Sanders as Florida natives in Rutgers’ 2015 recruiting haul, which also includes guard Justin Goode and forward Kejuan Johnson.

Rutgers has struggled for quite some time, with their last NCAA tournament appearance coming in 1991. The task of rebuilding the program while also getting used to a new conference hasn’t been an easy one for Jordan and his staff, as evidenced by their going winless for the remainder of the season following their upset of Wisconsin in mid-January.