Pittsburgh, Pa. – Junior wing Dane Miller (Rochester, N.Y.) had a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds and freshman guard Eli Carter (Paterson, N.J.) added 14 points to help Rutgers (10-7, 2-2) to a convincing 62-39 victory over Pittsburgh (11-6, 0-4) Wednesday evening at the Petersen Events Center. The 23-point win marked the largest margin of victory for the Scarlet Knights on the road in BIG EAST play and the largest margin of victory over a conference opponent since 2004.
“I thought it was as good of a 40 minute performance as we have had all year,” said Rutgers head coach Mike Rice. “We are getting better. Our young team is starting to figure out how to win basketball games, how important every possession and rebound is. It showed tonight with our performance. It was a good victory.”
The Panthers’ 39-point output signaled the lowest total for a Rutgers opponent during its BIG EAST tenure.
Paced by Miller and Carter, six Scarlet Knights posted six-or-more points in the win. The stingy Rutgers defense held Pittsburgh to just 21.1 percent shooting (12-of-57), including allowing just four field goals in the first half. RU forced its 15th-straight opponent into 15-or-more turnovers.
The Scarlet Knights grabbed 51 boards - just three off their record in a BIG EAST game – out-rebounding the Panthers by 16. Pitt entered the game No. 1 team in the country in rebounding margin. RU also dominated points in the paint (32-14) and second chance points (22-10).
“This was the No. 1 rebounding team in the country and our guys stepped up to the challenge,” said Rice. “Myles Mack had five rebounds tonight. Each and every individual took the challenge upon themselves to get it done against the best rebounding team in the country.”
The Scarlet Knights rushed out to a 9-3 lead over the first five minutes, capped by an Austin Johnson (Elkins Park, Pa.) left-handed hook shot. The Panthers battled back to knot the game at 14, but RU rattled off a 16-5 run to end the half. Miller scored five of his nine first-half points during the spree, including a buzzer-beating tip-in to put RU up 30-19. Rutgers held Pittsburgh to 12.5 (four-of-32) shooting in the first half, forcing the Panthers into seven turnovers.
After the break, Pitt scored five of the first six points to bring the score within seven, but Rutgers would not be denied, ripping off a 16-2 run to take a 47-26 lead. The spurt was led by Carter, who poured in six points. The Scarlet Knights would cruise from there, as the Panthers would get no closer than 17 points.
Rutgers led by as many as 27 points (60-33) with a minute to play.
“These guys are embracing the formula,” said Rice. “They are embracing the energy and intensity that you need. For our first road victory to be at the ‘Pete’ in front of the Oakland Zoo is a (big deal). I know how big of a thing it is. I’m not sure if (our players) do because they are so young, but maybe that’s why they played so hard and didn’t have a fear of it.”
Rutgers continues on the road for a Saturday (Jan. 14) afternoon matchup at West Virginia at 2 p.m. The game in Morgantown will be televised live on SNY and will be streamed live via the internet at ESPN3.com.
- The 23-point win marked the greatest margin of victory on the road in the BIG EAST for the Scarlet Knights. It was the largest margin of victory over a BIG EAST opponent since Feb. 15, 2004 (33 points, 85-52) against Virginia Tech – the Rutgers record in a BIG EAST game.
- The 51 rebounds were the most since Jan. 27, 2007 against Seton Hall (54) – the Rutgers BIG EAST record for rebounds in a game.
- RU held Pitt to .211 shooting, the lowest field goal percentage Rutgers has held a BIG EAST team and the lowest since Nov. 28, 2001 against Stony Brook (10-for-49, .204).
- This was the first win for RU in Pittsburgh since 2008 and just the second in the last 10 meetings at the Petersen Events Center.
- The 39 points were the fewest allowed by Rutgers to a BIG EAST opponent.
- This was the best win over Pittsburgh since Jan. 27, 1976 when RU won, 102-71.
- The 39 points allowed by Rutgers were the fewest for Pitt since Dec. 1973 and the fewest at home since Jan. 1950. It marked the fewest scored by Pitt in a BIG EAST game.
- Coming into the game as the No. 1 team in the nation in rebounding margin (+13.3), Rutgers outrebounded Pittsburgh by a 16-point margin (51-35).
- Dane Miller notched a double-double (11 points, 12 rebounds) for the second time this season and the first game since Monmouth (Dec. 12). It was the junior’s seventh career double-double.
- Miller scored in double-figures for the fifth time this season and 38th time in his career with 11 points. It was his first double-digit effort since Florida.
- Eli Carter scored 14 points to lead RU for the ninth time this season. Mack or Carter have paced the Scarlet Knights over the last 11 games, with Carter taking the lead in the last five.
- It marked the 14th game he has posted double-figures. Carter leads the team in number of career games pacing RU in scoring.
- Rutgers joins Louisville and Georgetown as the only programs to defeat Pitt twice at the Petersen Events Center.
- Rutgers moves to 24-23 in the all-time series, and 10-10 at Pitt. The Scarlet Knjghts rise to 7-14 against the Panthers in BIG EAST regular season play.
- The Scarlet Knight defense held the Panthers to 2-of-19 shooting over the first 12:48, making Pitt give the ball up five times. For the half, RU held Pitt to .125 shooting (4-of-32).
- The Scarlet Knights have forced the last 15 opponents into 15-plus turnovers (15 vs. Pittsburgh).
- Of the 10 players that saw more than two minutes of action, eight had three-plus points, with five posting seven-plus.
- Kadeem Jack notched a career high with three points.