New York (January 9, 2013) – In a back-and-forth battle between two metro rivals, Rutgers pulled out a 58-56 win over St. John’s Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. Senior wing Dane Miller (Rochester, N.Y.) powered the Scarlet Knights (11-3, 2-1) with 11 points – all in the second half – adding six rebounds and three assists.
Miller was also integral on defense, making a key stop on the last play of the game to force JaKarr Sampson into a missed three pointer.
Rutgers moves to 2-1 in BIG EAST play for just the third time in program history and the first since 2005-06. Junior guard Mike Poole (Rosedale, N.Y.) and senior forward Austin Johnson (Elkins Park, Pa.) added 10 points apiece off the bench for RU.
St. John’s (9-6, 1-2) was paced by D’Angelo Harrison with 20 points, although the Scarlet Knights limited the STJ guard to 5-of-15 shooting from the floor.
With 2:33 left to play, Miller tipped a missed shot into the basket to give the Scarlet Knights a 55-52 lead. Harrison went to the line twice over the next two St. John’s possessions, hitting two-of-four free throws to put the Red Storm within one, 55-54, with 33 seconds to play.
After immediately fouling guard Myles Mack (Paterson, N.J.), the sophomore buried both free throws to put RU back on top, 57-54. A Sampson lay-up brought STJ back within in one, before junior Mike Poole (Rosedale, N.Y.) hit one-of-two free throws to account for the final tally.
Rutgers came out of the break with a quick 5-0 spurt to put the squad back up one, 28-27. Mack was integral in the surge, grabbing two steals and connecting on a three right in front of the RU bench. The two teams would trade baskets over the next 12 minutes, with neither team able to distance itself by more than five.
The Scarlet Knights ran out of the gates, opening up a 13-2 lead with 13:36 to play in the first half. Leading 7-2, Carter hit a step-back three on the far side of the court before Poole buried a three from the right wing, forcing the Red Storm to call timeout.
St. John’s responded with a 18-4 run, taking a three-point lead, 20-17, on back-to-back Sampson baskets with just over six minutes to play before the break. The Scarlet Knights fought back to knot the game at 23 before the Red Storm scored the final four points of the stanza.
Rutgers returns to the friendly confines of the RAC on Saturday, Jan. 12 for a matchup with No. 21/20 Cincinnati. Game time is set for 8 p.m. The contest will be televised live on SNY.
Follow Rutgers Athletics on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/RutgersAthletics) and Twitter (@RUAthletics) for all of the latest news and updates. For specific updates regarding men’s basketball, follow head coach Mike Rice on Twitter (@CoachMikeRice). Fans can receive timely information, including special offers and giveaways throughout the year on our social media outlets along with http://www.ScarletKnights.com.
- Rutgers moves to 2-1 in BIG EAST play for just the third time in program history and the first since 2005-06.
- The 11-3 mark also signals the best start since 2005-06.
- RU has now won two-straight contests vs. STJ. The last four meetings between the two squads have all been decided by three points or fewer. The last RU win over St. John's at the Garden was in 1997.
- Under head coach Mike Rice, RU moves to 19-8 when holding its opponent under 60 points, including a 4-1 this season.
- The last four contests with St. John’s have been decided by three points or less.
- Rutgers moves to 14-25 all-time against the St. John’s, including 7-13 in BIG EAST regular season play. Austin Johnson reached double-digits with 10 points for the second time this season and the first time since Saint Peter’s on Nov. 9.
- Dane Miller posted 10-plus with 11 points for the seventh time this season. The senior has led the team in scoring twice this season and 11 times over his career. The senior is approaching 1,000 points with 963 over his four years.
- Mike Poole notched the second double-digit game of the season and first since Iona (Dec. 8). At Madison Square Garden, the junior is averaging 14.0 points 5.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists.
- Eli Carter grabbed a career high eight rebounds to lead the team for the fifth time in his career.
- Jerome Seagears earned his second-straight start, as head coach Mike Rice went with the starting lineup of Seagears, Mack, Carter, Judge and Miller. It marked the first time this season RU has gone with this starting lineup.
- The Scarlet Knights move to 8-1 when three or more players score 10-plus points.
- When taking less three pointers than its opponent, RU moves to 10-3.
- When wearing black uniforms under Rice, the Scarlet Knights rise to 2-1.
- Dane Miller now owns 38-straight starts.
HEAD COACH MIKE RICE
Opening Statement: “It’s nice to have seniors. It’s nice to have guys who have been through the wars and respond the right way. In the second half, I thought both of those guys – Dane (Miller) and Austin (Johnson) did a great job. If you had told me that in a night where Eli (Carter) is (3-for-14) and Wally (Judge) is (2-for-8), I would have said that it will be a rough night for the Scarlet Knights. Seniors stepped up. They did a tremendous job, along with the other guys. Why not us? I keep on telling our guys that. Hang in there and good things are going to happen.”
On defensive effort: “I think they are beginning to trust each other more. They are beginning to really follow that formula. They did an outstanding job in forcing tough perimeter shots, which we wanted to do. It’s a different formula than we’ve had the first two years. We’re game planning differently every day, so every single game we are doing something different. These guys are embracing that. They’re getting better defensively. It’s something we’re working on every single day.”