PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Junior wing Dane Miller (Rochester, N.Y.) shot four-of-five to score 12 points, while adding six rebounds, to help Rutgers (1-0) to a 62-56 win over Dartmouth (0-1) Friday evening at the RAC in the 2011-12 season opener. The Scarlet Knights led the contest from start to finish.
RU shot 47.8 percent (22-46), while limiting the Big Green to a 36.5 percent (19-52) mark from the field. The Scarlet Knights also out-rebounded their foes by a 37-23 margin.
Sophomore forward Gilvydas Biruta (Jonava, Lithuania) and freshmen guards Myles Mack (Paterson, N.J.) and Eli Carter (Willingboro, N.J.) all contributed nine points. Biruta, who was hampered by early foul troubles, shot three-of-four and added five boards. Carter shot four-of-eight.
Rookie guard Jerome Seagears (Silver Spring, Md.) contributed seven points on two-of-three shooting and freshman forward Malick Kone (Conakry, Guinea) had eight points on four-of-eight field goals. Both played integral minutes off the bench.
“They’re playing really hard and they’re trying to embrace the formula and do what we want,” said Rutgers head coach Mike Rice in regards to the freshmen guards. “Those guys are going to learning from it. We’re going to watch the game on film, look at it and hopefully not make those same mistakes. I like that way they fought through it. ”
Rutgers controlled the game but was unable to break away from a persistent Dartmouth squad. The Scarlet Knights, who led 31-30 at the break, led by nine on four occasions but were unable to extend the advantage to double digits.
“I told our guys how hard it is to win a division one game no matter who you’re playing,” said Rice. “I give credit to Dartmouth, they controlled the tempo. Dartmouth did a nice job with switching the looks that they gave us.”
The Big Green was led in the scoring column by R.J. Griffin, who had a game-high 15 points.
Rutgers returns to the hardwood to meet ACC foe Miami in a 7 p.m. tip-off on Tuesday (Nov. 15) in Coral Gables, Fla. The contest will be televised live via the web at ESPN3.com.
- The Scarlet Knights have won 13 of the last 14 home openers, including the last five-straight.
- The win pushes Rutgers all-time record in season openers to 73-27.
- RU climbs to 3-1 all-time against Dartmouth, winning the last three contests in the series. Against the Ivy League, the Scarlet Knights now hold a 79-131 record.
- For the first time since Louisville on Feb. 22, 2011, Rutgers had just one player score double-figures.
- Dane Miller scored 10-plus points for the 34th time in his career, with 12 points. The junior added six rebounds.
- Miller led the squad in scoring for the sixth time in his career and the first since at Seton Hall (Jan. 22) last season. The junior paced RU in rebounding for the 26th time in his career.
- The Scarlet Knights led the Big Green wire-to-wire, the first time since March 2, 2011 at DePaul. RU led two teams from start to finish last season (NJIT, Dec. 1, 2010).
- The Rutgers defense held Dartmouth to 4-of-22 (.182) shooting from behind the arc and did not allow a field goal for the first 8:08 of the second half. The 18.2 percent shooting from three tied an opponent’s game low from last season.
- Eli Carter and Myles Mack both earned their first starts in a Rutgers uniform. Dane Miller got the nod for a team-best 50th-straight contest.
- Carter, Mack, Malick Kone, Greg Lewis, Derrick Randall, and Jerome Seagears all saw their first action for the Scarlet Knights.
- Of the 11 players that saw action, eight had four-plus points and six tallied seven-plus.
MIKE RICE POSTGAME QUOTES
“At times, when we got up eight or nine points, we just played careless and casual like young teams will do. There were four or five times that we went up nine points and just couldn’t get up more, because we took a quick shot, didn’t take care of the ball and didn’t execute what we wanted to do.”
“I told our guys how hard it is to win a division one game no matter who you’re playing. I give credit to Dartmouth. They controlled the tempo. Dartmouth did a nice job with switching the looks that they gave us.”
On the play of the first year guards:
“Inconsistent, but that’s what you’re going to find from those three. They’re playing really hard and they’re trying to embrace the formula and do what we want. Those guys are going to learn from it. We’re going to watch the game on film, look at it and hopefully not make those same mistakes. I like that way they fought through it. ”
On the Scarlet Knights students:
“Things don’t surprise me because I think I’m really well prepared, but I was shocked. There is a buzz and feeling within the student body that this is an exciting time. There’s a lot of potential on this team, so I can’t thank the student body enough for coming out and supporting us and giving us energy.”
On the play Malick Kone # 24:
“Malick’s energy, athleticism and motor is helping us out tremendously. Two games now that I don’t think we win either game without Malick Kone.”
Dartmouth Head Coach Paul Cormier
Thoughts on the season opener: “We knew that it was going to be a challenge and I thought the kids did a pretty good job. We have two programs here, both obviously at different levels regarding league and affiliations, but I think we have similar situations. We are both young and devoted to rebuilding and I think that is what Coach Mike (Rice) is doing here. Once he gets the older kids mixed with the younger guys, Rutgers is going to be a very scary team. I am glad that we played them early. Rutgers just came out playing so hard that is was a good thing for my players to see. I thought at times we met the task very well. I think that we are a better team now that we played this game than before we played this game.”
On the positives of the game: “As a coach, I found out who is ready to play of my freshmen. I think that we have some good young talent. A couple of them obviously need to work on things. A couple of them didn’t respond today as well as we hoped. All in all, I think that we are a better team now and that is what you want to do as a coach. You want to win as many games as you can and at the same time, you want to see improvement. I like to think that tomorrow when we practice, our kids will feel juiced knowing that we can stay with a BIG EAST team. Now we just have to find a way to get to the next hurdle.