PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Redshirt junior forward Wally Judge (Washington, D.C.) had his second double-double in as many games, scoring 11 points on five-of-six shooting and grabbing 10 rebounds, to help Rutgers (1-1) to a convincing 88-62 victory over Sacred Heart (1-1) Monday evening at the RAC. The Scarlet Knights shot 54.4 percent (37-68) and dished-out 20 assists, while limiting the Pioneers to a 36.4 percent (24-66) mark from the field.
RU capitalized on its size and strength advantage to score 56 points in the paint and out-rebound the visitors by a 40-38 margin. The Scarlet Knights issued 10 blocks, including a career-best six rejections by redshirt sophomore forward Kadeem Jack (Queens, N.Y.).
Thirteen players saw action for RU and 11 posted points, including 10 players with four points or more. In addition to Judge, guards Eli Carter (Paterson, N.J.), Dane Miller (Rochester, N.Y.) and Myles Mack (Paterson, N.J.) all scored in double digits. Carter shot 7-of-15 to register a game-high 18 points off the bench, Miller was 6-of-7 from the field to contribute 14 and Mack went 5-of-9 to add 14 points as well.
A different Rutgers starting lineup featured its three tri-captains – Miller, junior guard Mike Poole (Rosedale, N.Y.) and Mack – as well as Judge and senior forward Austin Johnson (Elkins Park, Pa.).
Sacred Heart jumped out to an 11-6 lead, but the Scarlet Knights responded in definitive fashion with 17-0 run and never looked back. Rutgers extended its advantage to as much as 22 points on three occasions in the opening half before entering the locker room at the midpoint with a 41-21 lead.
RU continued its dominance after the break and built is advantage to as much as 30 points (82-52) in the final minutes.
The Scarlet Knights return to the hardwood this Friday (Nov. 16) evening at Princeton in a 7 p.m. tip-off at Jadwin Gymnasium.
- RU had four players score double-digits with Eli Carter (18), Myles Mack (14), Dane Miller (14) and Wally Judge (11). Last season, RU was 7-4 when four or more players posted 10-plus points.
- Rutgers had 11 players score at least a basket, with 10 notching four-plus.
- Wally Judge notched his second-straight double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. It marked the second-consecutive game the forward has paced the Scarlet Knights in rebounds.
- Judge becomes the first Scarlet Knight to open the season with back-to-back double-doubles since Greg Echenique in 2009-10.
- RU turned the ball over just seven times, the fewest since Feb. 27, 2011 (six) against West Virginia.
- The 20 assists dished out by the Scarlet Knights marked the most since Nov. 28, 2011 against UMBC (27).
- Rutgers shot .544 (37-of-68) from the floor, the best output since UMBC on Nov. 28. 2011 (.557). The Scarlet Knights shot over .500 four times a season ago.
- Kadeem Jack blocked a career-high six shots. It marked the most for a Scarlet Knight since Dane Miller against Monmouth (seven) on Dec. 12, 2011.
- Eli Carter posted 10-plus points for the 26th time in his career. Carter scored double-figures in the first half for the seventh time in his career.
- Carter paced the Scarlet Knights in scoring for the team-best 16th time in his career.
- The RU defense held SHU to without a field goal from 13:24-5:32 of the first half. Over that span (7:52), the Scarlet Knights went on a 22-2 run to pull ahead 28-13.
- Rutgers held Sacred Heart to 21 first-half points. It signaled the lowest opponent first-half output since Jan. 21, 2012 at Georgetown (20). RU held eight opponents to under 25 in the first half last season.
- Head coach Mike Rice went with the starting lineup of Myles Mack, Dane Miller, Mike Poole, Wally Judge and Austin Johnson. It marked Poole’s first start since Dec. 12, 2011.
- Vincent Garrett scored his first basket in a RU uniform.
- RU moves to 2-0 all-time against SHU.
Rutgers Head Coach Mike Rice
Opening statement: “The approach in thinking of a long, long weekend. The approach is a little bit different. I take a lot of blame for Friday night. I just thought we were prepared and we certainly weren’t. This weekend, there were tremendous meetings, tremendous communication and tremendous time on the floor. That (St. Peter’s loss) wasn’t representative of what I think this team can accomplish and what I think this team can do. They brought the right mentality, the right resolve and toughness. You saw a very balanced very unselfish performance.”
On starting lineup: “I didn’t tell them, I just put them out there to be honest with you. I wasn’t in any sort of a chit-chatting type of mood. No one besides Wally (Judge) and Austin (Johnson) deserved to start. The staff and I discussed at length about who would start. Guys who were consistent defensively since June was who we went with.”
On when the starters were named: “Saturday afternoon when we went through walk-through.”
On changing lineup: “We wanted to send a message to some people. Whether it is clear or not, they brought the right approach and right mentality tonight. I don’t think we’re going to stay with one starting lineup this year. We’re going to send some messages every once and a while. Hey, we don’t like what you’re doing here, we need more effort, or do something with more purpose and we may send the message that way.”
On Judge’s improved passing skills: Shocked (about his passing ability). Wally is a really good passer and our guys know it. That’s why I was shocked when we weren’t giving him the ball. We scream at him to shoot more in practice actually. The fact that he is such a willing participant to give it up … In the back door cut to start the game, the first play of the second half, even the plays off the post. It’s a nice balance when you can be able to get some points in there. We’ll throw some stuff into the low post.”
On approach to the weekend: “We had to get better. There are times where I may punish or discipline, we had to get better. We have. I don’t think what we did Friday night was reminiscent of what we had done since June 1. So we talked a lot. We talked about approach, we talked about not being a fraud, not saying team on three, say ‘Rutgers’ or ‘family.’ Now, we say ‘Rutgers.’ Now we are going to take pride in what we do. We discussed a lot of different things in a healthy two-hour meeting in what we want and what we expect from each other.”
Sacred Heart Head Coach Dave Bike
On his overall thoughts on the game: “They took it to us. They got layups and dunks by going after us. They scored in the paint and we couldn’t handle them. We didn’t handle them last year in the second half and we didn’t handle them this year.”
On what Rutgers was able to do today to rebound from its loss to St. Peter’s: “I try to figure out why they out-rebounded St. Peter’s by a lot, yet they had a bad percentage shooting. Today we held our own on the glass with them, but they shot too good against us. When you get up as high as a couple of those guys did and you dunk it, it’s hard to miss.”
On some of the bright spots from his squad: “It’s a team game and naturally we’re not happy. Femi Akinpetide, we thought that was probably his best game for us. He had 14 rebounds, seven (offensive) and seven (defensive). I’m not sure he’s going to average 14 rebounds, but that’s very important for us. We battled on the boards a little bit. We had some offensive rebounds and stuff so we’re pleased with that, but we’re not pleased with the game as a whole.”
On what’s next: “We play Hartford Friday. We played two games. Like I said to the guys, after two games I don’t know if this is something we can sit here and predict what’s going to happen. I think we can go either way. The thing is, if we get better at fundamentals I think we’re going to do really well. We’re not in the prediction business anyways, so it doesn’t matter what we might think. I don’t know if there’s any form here to say what’s going to happen.”
On something his team needs to focus on: “We’re going off of last year’s situation where we have to rebound better, which I thought we did. We have to have a better assist to turnover ratio and minimize the turnovers which we didn’t do too badly here. Then, it’s the percentage of the defense. Fourteen (assists) to 13 (turnovers) isn’t bad except when Rutgers has 20 (assists) to seven (turnovers). Twenty and seven beats 14 to 13.”