GREENSBORO, N.C. – Rutgers (4-1) sophomore guards Myles Mack (Paterson, N.J.) and Eli Carter (Paterson, N.J.) combined to shoot 18-of-26 to score 49 points in a hard-fought 87-80 victory over North Carolina-Greensboro Sunday afternoon at the Greensboro Coliseum. It marked the fourth consecutive victory for the Scarlet Knights, who shot 58.3 percent in the second half and 57. 4 percent (31-54) overall.
Carter made 9-of-15 field goals and was a perfect 6-of-6 from the charity stripe to score 25 points in 30 minutes. Mack shot 9-of-11, including 3-of-4 from behind the arc, to post a career-best 24 points in 31 minutes. The duo was a perfect 9-of-9 from the free throw line, while Mack also dished-out five assists.
Collectively, the Scarlet Knights shot 21-of-25 (84 percent) from the charity stripe.
Rutgers responded to a 10 point, first half deficit with a definitive second half in which RU limited the Spartans to 38.7 percent (12-of-31) shooting. UNCG (1-4) made just 1-of-10 from behind the arc after the break, courtesy of a Scarlet Knight defense that had 12 steals and forced 16 turnovers.
Rutgers jumped-out to a 12-4 advantage early, but a feisty UNCG squad fought back thanks to the three-ball. The Spartans deposited six three pointers in the opening 20 minutes and established a 41-31 lead with under three minutes to play before intermission. Rutgers scored nine of the final 11 first half points to enter the locker room at the midpoint trailing 43-40.
The momentum carried over to the final 20 minutes, as a furious pace ensued. The Scarlet Knights re-captured the lead, 51-50, on a Jerome Seagears (Silver Spring, Md.) jumper with 15 minutes to play.
The teams battled back-and-forth before a pair of Wally Judge (Washington, D.C.) free throws put Rutgers ahead, 65-63, an advantage RU would not again relinquish. The Scarlet Knights built their lead to nine points (82-73), but the Spartans, picked to win the SoCon North Division, would not go down without a fight. RU hit its free throws down the stretch, however, to ensure the victory.
The game featured five ties and 14 lead changes.
RU returns to the hardwood on Saturday (Dec. 1) to meet Ole Miss in a 2 p.m. tip-off in Oxford, Miss. in the BIG EAST-SEC Challenge. The game will be televised live nationally on ESPNU.
- Rutgers had two players scored 20-plus points for the first time since Jan. 20, 2011 when James Beatty (20) and Jonathan Mitchell (20) accomplished the feat against USF (W, 71-62). Eli Carter (25) and Myles Mack (24) each posted 20-plus for RU.
- The 24 points signaled a personal best for Mack.
- The 25 points by Carter marked the most for the sophomore since Dec. 29, 2011 vs. Florida (career-high 31). It is the highest scoring output by Carter in a regulation game.
- The four-game win streak matches the longest of last season (Dec. 12-29 vs. Monmouth, Stony Brook, NJIT, Florida).
- Carter led the team for the 19th time in his career and surpassed the 20-point mark for the eighth time.
- For the fourth-straight contest, Carter posted double-digits in the first half with 13 points. It marked the 10th time over his career Carter has scored double-figures over the first 20 minutes.
- For the fourth-straight game, Mack posted double-figures. Mack has scored 20-plus four times in his career. It marked the fourth time over his career (and third-straight) that the guard has scored 10-plus in the first stanza with 15.
- Mack also dished out a team-best five assists, the third time he has accumulated five-plus.
- For the second time in 2012, RU shot over 50 percent from the floor (.574). It signaled the best shooting percentage since Nov. 17, 2011 vs. Sacred Heart (.630).
- RU earns the win in the first ever matchup between the two schools. Rutgers moves to 4-0 all-time against members of the Southern Conference.
- For the second-straight contest, RU posted 32-plus points in the paint (34).
- This marks the fourth game this season decided by seven points or less. RU holds a 3-1 mark in those contests.
- Malick Kone paced RU in rebounding for the first time this season and third time of his career. The sophomore finished with six points and five rebounds.
- Eight Scarlet Knights posted five-plus points.
- Head coach Mike Rice changed his starting lineup for the third time through five games this season.
HEAD COACH MIKE RICE
Opening statement: “I think (UNC-Greensboro) is a good basketball team. Wes (Miller) has a good basketball team. He has lost some tough games, but I love his balance, I love the moxy of his perimeter players. I think they are going to have a successful team this year. They’ll figure it out. They’ll figure out how to close games. What we did was defend the three better. What we did was make it more difficult in the second half and we executed. Those two things brought home the game. Whether it was Myles (Mack) or Eli (Carter) or Wally Judge or Malick Kone, I think our execution (was better). Credit that to our guys for having a purpose down the end of the game.”
On the backcourt: “What do you think Bob Hurley won so many games for? They are both Saint Anthony kids. They are hard to guard. They are difficult to guard. Even when Jerome gets it going, when they are allowing the offense to give them advantages, they are difficult to handle. They did that tonight. They allowed the offense to give them an advantage. They allowed their teammates to help them and they were very efficient.”