PISCATAWAY N.J. (December 16, 2012) – Resilient offensive performances by sophomores Myles Mack (Paterson, N.J.) and Eli Carter (Paterson, N.J.) led Rutgers (7-2) to a 88-79 victory over UAB Sunday afternoon at the Rutgers Athletic Center. The victory was the Scarlet Knights third straight and their seventh in the past eight games.
Mack and Carter - who finished with 23 and 20 points, respectively - combined to score the 13 of the final 14 points for RU (7-2), as Carter leading the charge with nine points on a 5-for-5 clip from the free-throw line. The offensive surges by the sophomore duo marks the second time this season that both scored at least 20 points in the same contest.
Mack added five assists, five steals and four rebounds while shooting 6-of-9 from the floor. Senior wing Dane Miller (Rochester, N.Y.) chipped in 10 points and a team-best seven rebounds. The Blazers (5-6) were led by Jordan Swing with 23 points and six rebounds.
After Rutgers headed into the break with a 50-33 lead, UAB opened the second half with a 10-3 run, cutting the Scarlet Knights’ lead to 10 with 15 minutes to play. A three-pointer by Mack – his fourth of the contest – helped build the RU lead back up to 15 with 12:44 to go in regulation. UAB would not go quietly, again cutting the lead to ten with less than five minutes remaining.
The Blazers drew closer within seven points with three minutes left, but Carter responded with a timely three-point play after being fouled on a layup attempt. From there, Mack and Carter took charge, leading the RU to its seventh win in its last eight contests.
The Scarlet Knights started the game on fire, shooting a perfect 10-for-10 from the field over the first eight minutes. Back-to-back dunks by Miller extended the RU lead to 14-4 with 15:43 remaining in the first half. By the time RU missed a shot, it held a 21-7 lead.
RU never looked back from there, shooting 73.9 percent (17-for-23) from the field over the first 20 minutes to lead by as many as 25 in the opening period.
The Scarlet Knights return to the RAC on Friday, Dec. 21, for a 7:30 p.m. matchup against Howard. The game will be available live via the web on RVision presented by AT&T.
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POST GAME NOTES
- Over the first eight minutes, Rutgers did not miss a shot, shooting 10-of-10 from the floor to take a 21-7 lead over UAB.
- Rutgers shot .739 (17-of-23) from the floor in the first half. It marked the best percentage over the first 20 minutes since Dec. 9, 2006 vs. Princeton (.875). It was the highest shooting percentage in any half since 11/17/11 vs. Sacred Heart (.808).
- The 50 points scored by RU in the first stanza signaled the most in a half since 12/12/11 vs. Monmouth (51 in the second half).
- The 60.0 percent shooting from the field marked the best output since Nov. 17, 2011 vs. Sacred Heart (.630).
- Myles Mack (23) and Eli Carter (20) have recorded double-figures in each of the last eight contests.
- Mack has posted 10-plus points over the first 20 minutes in five games this season. The sophomore guard has eclipsed the 20-point plateau five times in his career.
- For the second time this season, Mack and Carter both posted 20 points. The duo also completed the task at UNC-Greensboro.
- Carter has totaled more than 20 points in nine career games, including four times this season.
- Dane Miller posted double-digits for the fourth-straight contest with 10 points. It signaled the 50th game in double-figures for the senior.
- The Scarlet Knights move to 5-1 when three or more players score 10-plus points.
- Mack broke his career high with five steals.
- RU rises to 5-0 when scoring 80-plus points this season. Since 2010-11, the Scarlet Knights are 7-1 when posting more than 80 points.
- RU moves to 7-1 this season when Mack posts 10-plus points. The sophomore has tallied double-figures in 23 games over his career.
- On the season, Myles Mack is 25-for-26 from the charity stripe – including 7-of-7 vs. UAB – and has not missed since the first game of the season.
- The 13 team steals marked the third time this season RU has grabbed 10-plus thefts.
POST GAME QUOTES
INTERIM HEAD COACH DAVID COX
Opening Statement: “First of all, it’s been a very tough week and the support that we have received from the athletic department and the entire scarlet nation has been phenomenal. With that being said, I would be remised to not take a moment to say that yes, we had a game today, but there was a tragedy - to say the least - in Newtown, Conn. All of our prayers are with the families of those who are dealing with this currently. That’s a big issue right now, and again, outside of this game, this win and these questions you’re going to ask me, I’m sure about all the other news that’s going on, that’s something I wanted to make sure that I mentioned. I appreciate the support from scarlet nation and I wanted to make sure I acknowledged those families and those victims.”
On the offensive output in the first half: “Is that what the stat was today? The first 15-out-of-16 (shots made)? I would probably call that divine intervention, because I certainly didn’t teach them to shoot that well in the last two days. Again, I think guys came in jacked. They were ready to play and they were ready to prove that as a team and as a unit that we were going to stick together and going to weather this storm.”
On Playing for Head Coach Mike Rice: “Absolutely. Absolutely. They played for Coach Rice. They played for themselves and they played for this University, as they always do. Make no bones about it, some of the criticism that this team has received for what’s perceived was attitudes and or chemistry issues, they hear and they wanted to make sure they displayed a united front today. They wanted to make sure they showed scarlet nation that they would represent Rutgers basketball and Coach Rice in the appropriate fashion and I think that’s what they showed today.”
UAB HEAD COACH JEROD HAASE
On his overall thoughts on the game: “I thought, obviously, the first 10 minutes was the defining part of the game. Rutgers shot the heck out of the basketball for the entire game, but especially in the first half. It was a combination of them doing some great things and our guys not doing what they’re supposed to defensively. Rutgers is a good team and that’s a big-time team on the road. I thought our guys did compete to the end but just didn’t play effective enough.”
On what his team was able to do to make a run in the second half: “Offensively, Rutgers didn’t attack as much and then we were able to grind it defensively a little bit. We just got a few more open looks and made a few more shots, obviously, in the second half. I was proud of our guys that we did make a charge back at them.”
On who played well for both teams: “I thought Preston (Purifoy) came off the bench for us and gave us some good minutes, both effort and shooting the basketball. Rod Rucker has been pretty consistent all year with battling on the boards and doing some things like being a matchup problem for guys. Rutgers is a good team. Obviously, with (Eli) Carter and (Myles) Mack, it really starts with them controlling the basketball and being able to make shots. I think they do a good job with their role players playing their roles and doing what they’re supposed to do. Again, the defining part of the game was early on.”