PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Rutgers (4-3) dished-out 27 assists, its most since 1992, in a dominating 94-56 victory over UMBC (0-6) Monday evening at the Rutgers Athletic Center. Freshman point guard Myles Mack (Paterson, N.J.) shot seven-of-nine, including three-of-four from behind the arc, to score a game and career-high 20 points in the victory.
Mack combined with fellow freshmen guards Jerome Seagears (Silver Spring, Md.) and Eli Carter (Willingboro, N.J.) to score 39 points on 14-of-21 shooting with 13 assists. Seagears made three-of-six field goals to post seven points with a game and career-best 10 rebounds and five steals. Carter connected on four-of-six shots to tally 12 points with four helpers.
Ten RU players registered at least one assist.
Sophomores Gilvydas Biruta (Jonava, Lithuania) and Mike Poole (Rosedale, N.Y.) both contributed 13 points as four Scarlet Knights registered double figures. Biruta shot five-of-six, while Poole made four-of-seven field goals.
Rutgers shot 55.7 percent (34-61), including an impressive 58.8 percent (10-17) mark from behind the arc. Meanwhile, the Retrievers made just 36 percent (18-50) of their field goals thanks to a stingy RU defense that also forced 20 turnovers.
After a pair of ties in the early moments of the game, Rutgers imposed its will. The Scarlet Knights initially ran their lead to double digits on an Austin Carroll (Bedford, Mass.) three pointer at the 8:41 mark of the opening half. RU proceeded to score 15 of the stanza’s final 19 points to enter the locker room at the midpoint with a 46-24 advantage.
After the break, Rutgers grew its lead to as much as 45 points (91-46) with under five minutes remaining. The scoring slowed in the final minutes with the result in hand.
The Scarlet Knights out-rebounded the visitors by a 38-29 margin, which contributed to a 42-18 differential in points-in-the-paint.
Rutgers returns to the hardwood Saturday (Dec. 3) evening to host LSU in a 7:00 p.m. tip-off at the RAC. The game, which is part of the BIG EAST-SEC Challenge, will be televised live on ESPNU.
POST GAME NOTES
- The 27 assists dished out by Rutgers marked the most since Dec. 7, 1992 (32) in a 132-83 win over Keene State at the RAC. The RU record for most assists in a game came against Boston College (W, 102-92) on Jan. 15, 1977 (33).
- This was the biggest margin of victory (38 points) for RU over a Division I team since Dec. 7, 2005 when RU downed Maryland Eastern Shore 92-50.
- This marks the second game this season RU has scored 90-plus points. The last time the Scarlet Knights tallied two games with more than 90 points was 2005-06 when RU notched four games with 90-plus.
- The Scarlet Knights assisted on 15 of its 17 baskets in the first half, including the first 14 buckets.
- The last time RU dished out 15-plus assists in a half was Dec. 12, 2005 against St. Thomas Aquinas (17). Against a Division I opponent, it marks the first time Rutgers has tallied 15 helpers since March 10, 2005 against Syracuse.
- Rutgers last led by 22 points at half against Norfolk State (44-22) last season on Nov. 23. This is the second opponent RU has held to under 24 points in the first half this year. In 2010-11, the Scarlet Knights held opponents under 24 points in the first stanza five times.
- Myles Mack tallied the third double-figure game of his career and his first 20-plus showing with a career high 20 points. The freshman passed his personal best in the first half with 15 points and doubled his previous career high (10).
- Eli Carter registered double-digits for the fourth time this season with 12 points.
- For the seventh time in his career, Mike Poole scored 10-plus with 13 points.
- Gilvydas Biruta scored 13 points, the 24th time in his career the sophomore has gone for double-figures.
- Jerome Seagears led the team with 10 rebounds, his first double-digit rebounding effort. The guard also tallied a personal-best five assists.
- RU moves to 2-1 when four or more players notch 10-plus points.
- Rutgers moves to 4-0 all-time against UMBC and 26-7 against current members of the America East Conference. The Scarlet Knights improve to 5-2 all-time on Nov. 28.
- Greg Lewis scored his first basket in a RU uniform, finishing with four points and his first dunk.
POST GAME QUOTES
Rutgers Head Coach Mike Rice
Opening statement: “It’s nice to see assists on a stat sheet. When you make buckets, when you share the ball, when you attack but make simple plays, that’s the way stat sheets are supposed to look with that many assists. Somebody asked me if it was alarming our lack of assists in the first six games, but when you don’t make shots consistently, that will happen. It was a balance, whether it was inside the paint, whether it was outside, (we weren’t making shots). You’re going to get zone. We haven’t seen much zone this year. I thought they played offense with a purpose. I understand UMBC is a rebuilding program and not as physical of athletes as we had played against, but still I like the purpose in which we attacked.”
On the switch in today’s lineup: “That plus-minus stat sheet (SID) Kevin (Lorincz) gives me, the line-up that started was minus...for the season. I don’t want to go minus anymore with my starters. I just wanted to wake them up a little bit. It’s going to change this year, it may even change next game. I just needed to wake them up and add a different energy to us and I think we did that.”
On Myles Mack: “He had been missing the good shots. That is the biggest head scratcher. I’ve watched him so much in the recruiting, I knew one thing he could do was put the ball in the basket. Again, it’s a process. He is trying to get people in involved. He’s playing against bigger, stronger players. He doesn’t know whether to shoot or run the offense because he has a coach that is always yelling at him. He is getting more comfortable. Even in practice in the last two days, he has attacked more. It’s simple. If the defense doesn’t pick you up Myles, shoot, because you are as good as anyone on this team.”
On the outcome of the Cancun Challenge and its impact on the rest of the season: “We have to learn from last weekend because when we didn’t shoot well, we didn’t come out and execute the next possession better or become more disciplined. We have to learn that when the shots don’t go in, you don’t shoot a contested three off the first pass. Again, these guys are learning the offense, allowing the offense to work for them. Yes, tonight validates what we’re teaching and what we’re doing.”
UMBC Head Coach Randy Monroe
On what he learned about his team tonight: “We have to learn how to compete. I thought Rutgers did a good job of getting us out of the normal area that we execute offense. We didn’t do a good job of getting into our range of executing. Give them credit for that – they did a good job. I just didn’t think we were competitive. I think after they jumped us we kind of fell back on our heels a bit. To me, it kind of looked like we were satisfied with that. That was disappointing to me as a coach.”
On the experience playing a BIG EAST team: “We always play tough teams in the preseason because it helps prepare for the America East Conference – not that those games are easy by no stretch of the imagination. It is always good to come in and play in an atmosphere like this. Also it helps to play against guys that are bigger and stronger. You want to see how your guys will compete against that type of competition. It is about believing in yourself and doing what you need to do to compete against a team like Rutgers.”