PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Sophomore guard Myles Mack (Paterson, N.J.) turned in another solid performance, shooting 5-of-8 to score 13 points, to help Rutgers (6-2) to a 68-65 victory over George Washington Tuesday evening at the RAC. It marked the sixth victory in seven games for the Scarlet Knights, who forced the Colonials into 23 turnovers.
"I’m very appreciative that we found a way to win,” said Rutgers head coach Mike Rice. “We made free throws down the stretch. We certainly didn't rebound, but we found a way to win."
Mack, who scored in double figures for a seventh consecutive game, was joined in double digits by fellow sophomores Eli Carter (Paterson, N.J.) and Kadeem Jack (Queens, N.Y.), as well as senior wing Dane Miller (Rochester, N.Y.). Carter was a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line en route to a game-high 19 points. Jack registered a career-best 12 points with six rebounds. Miller added 10 points with four blocks.
The Scarlet Knights shot 43.1 percent (25-58), while GW made 26-of-63 field goal attempts (41.3 percent). The Colonials out-rebounded RU by a 45-29 margin.
Rutgers jumped out to an early 12-3 lead courtesy of Mack’s hot hand. George Washington battled back to within one (19-18), before an 11-0 run provided the home squad a 30-18 advantage. The Scarlet Knights built their largest lead of the game, 15 points (35-20), on a Carter lay-up with 3:27 to go before the break.
The final six points of the half, however, belonged to the Colonials and Rutgers entered the locker room at the midpoint with a 37-30 advantage.
Leading 45-36 approaching the first media timeout of the second half, RU looked to have control. George Washington proceeded to score 13 of the contest’s next 16 points to take its first lead, 49-48, with 12:06 to play.
Rutgers re-gained the lead, 57-56, on a pair of Austin Johnson (Elkins Park, Pa.) free throws with 6:22 on the clock and held on for the remainder. The Colonials reduced their deficit to a single point on three occasions in the final three minutes, but RU made its attempts from the charity stripe down the stretch to earn the victory.
Rutgers returns to the hardwood this Sunday (Dec. 16) afternoon in a 12 noon tip-off versus UAB at the RAC. The game will be streamed live via the web on RVision presented by AT&T.
- The 15 steals marked the most for RU since Dec. 3, 2011 vs. LSU (16). The steal total was the second highest mark since 2007.
- Before the game, Myles Mack was named the Court Club Player of the Month for November. The sophomore guard averaged 14.8 points per game in 26.8 minutes. Mack shot .587 from the floor, including .450 from behind the arc and was 11-of-12 from the free throw line.
- Myles Mack and Eli Carter have recorded double-figures in each of the last seven contests.
- RU moves to 5-1 this season when Mack posts 10-plus points. The sophomore has tallied double-figures in 22 games over his career.
- Mack grabbed three steals for the second time this season.
- Kadeem Jack notched a new career high with 12 points on four field goals. The sophomore posted double-digits for the first time of his career.
- Jack paced RU in rebounds for the third time this season with six boards.
- The Scarlet Knights rise to 4-1 when three or more players score double-digits and 3-0 when four or more notch 10-plus.
- Carter paced the Scarlet Knights for the fifth time this season and 20th of his career with 19 points.
- Miller has scored double-digits in three-straight contests and 49 times over his career. The senior chipped in 10 points and four rebounds vs. GW.
- Rutgers has held five opponents to 30 points or less over the first 20 minutes, including GW (30).
- Dane Miller swatted four shots, the second time this season the senior has blocked three-or-more shots and the 20th game of his career.
- The Scarlet Knights move to 23-18 all-time against the Colonials, including a 17-3 mark at the RAC.
MIKE RICE POST-GAME QUOTES
Opening statement: “I thought George Washington was a tough team, They grind. Mike Lonergan does a tremendous job. (He has) some nice pieces. He has a nice group of freshmen and Isaiah Armwood showed our guys what a big, high-level consistent compete looks like. We still make plays that get in our own way. It stops our runs and you can’t do that. Good teams don’t do that. Again, I’m very appreciative to find a way to win. We made some free throws down the end. We certainly didn’t rebound tonight, but we found a way to win.”
On defensive pressure: “It’s difficult (to gauge) because they were doing a tremendous job of attacking. Once it got past our first line of the 2-2-1, they weren’t sprinting back as well as they should have. (GW was) doing a good job. Out of a time out, David (Cox), Jimmy (Martelli) and I talked about it and we went 2-2-1 and got a steal, got a turnover, so we ran with it a little bit more tonight. (GW) has trouble with pressure and taking care of the ball. Forcing 23 turnovers was the difference in this game. We certainly didn’t rebound.”
On RU defense: “Defense has been a problem all year to be honest with you. It’s been very inconsistent. We are not following any formula, whether its footsteps, whether it’s hedging – we’re not following any formula. There’s no consistency and urgency with our defense right now. I’d rather work on defense with a win, rather than a loss.”
On finishing possessions: “I’m a huge field goal percentage defense guy and I’ve always been one of the top five teams in the BIG EAST. I was always first or second at my previous job. I really pay attention to if you can stop someone. Then you have a chance. The amount of toughness in a possession – as they make more passes, you have to stay locked in, and we don’t do that. We make silly mistakes. Again, I am harping on defense because rebounding is a big part of it and we didn’t finish a lot of possessions tonight.”
GW COACH MIKE LONERGAN POST-GAME QUOTES
Overall thoughts on the game: “We started off slow and really didn’t have a lot of energy, and I thought we really picked things up, especially in the second half….we were forcing it and (Lasan) Kromah hit one of our only threes, to cut it to seven. We felt pretty good there. I thought we did a really good job on the boards, especially against a good rebounding team. We just took too many threes, within our offense. We tried to baseline some things that we’re just not capable of doing. It’s not our style.
On playing against Rutgers defense at the end of the game: “We were trying to get Bryan Bynes, our quickest guy, to get back and get the ball. I didn’t communicate that correctly I guess, and we ended up with a horrible shot that I wanted take it to the rim.”
“You’ve got to give them credit for their defense, because it’s not like we could just get by them on the dribble. I thought the game was lost for us when we were up one, and kind of had momentum, and kept getting stops, and kept trying to throw it long, and we threw it right to the other team, like, three times. That wasn’t all our freshmen either; those were some of our experienced guys trying to make a homerun play, and it’s just not there. We don’t have homerun playmakers, so we just have to control that ball and relax.”
On the turnovers and frustrations: “[Isaiah Armwood] has been great, I thought he was playing a little too fast at times, and he had five turnovers. Sometimes we’d get a rebound and we just needed that possession, we needed to control the tempo, and that’s when we were trying to do too much. Patricio [Garnio] had eight, so it’s just a lot of turnovers, and those are probably our two best players right there. We’ve just got to get better in that area. That area alone has probably cost us three games. We work on it all the time, but it’s just frustrating for everybody. We’ve just got to keep improving and hopefully we’ll get one of these wins sometime to get us over the hump a little bit."