Piscataway, N.J. – Rutgers (11-3, 2-1) returns to the friendly confines of the RAC to host No. 21/20 Cincinnati (13-3, 1-2) Saturday (Jan. 12) evening in an 8 p.m. tip-off. The Bearcats have been ranked as highly as No. 8 in both polls this season. The Scarlet Knights, who have won seven of their past eight games, have an opportunity to improve to 3-1 in BIG EAST play for the first time since joining the conference in 1995-96. Under head coach Mike Rice RU has defeated four of the last six nationally ranked foes to enter the truncated pyramid, including three top 10 foes and No. 24/22 Pittsburgh this season (Jan. 5, 67-62). The last time Rutgers defeated nationally-ranked visitors in back-to-back home games was in 2002, when it downed No. 17 UConn (61-53) on Jan. 30 and No. 14 Syracuse (82-74) on Feb. 2.
Saturday is Youth Hoopsters Night at the RAC. Promenade tickets are reduced to just $15.00 and kids are encouraged to wear their youth basketball jerseys to the game. Fans should call (866) 445-GORU to acquire their discounted tickets.
The game will be produced by the BIG EAST Network and televised live in the New York Metropolitan market on SNY and via ESPN3 at WatchESPN.com with Quint Kessenich calling the action and Jim Spanarkel providing the analysis. On the radio, the contest will be broadcast live on the Rutgers Radio Network, WOR 710 AM in New York and WCTC 1450 AM in New Brunswick, as well as on Sirius and XM channel 85. Chris Carlin will serve as play-by-play announcer and Dick Lloyd will provide commentary. WRSU (88.7) will also broadcast the game.
Saturday evening’s contest marks 17th overall match-up between the schools dating back to 1972, with Cincinnati holding an 12-4 advantage in victories, including a 5-3 mark in BIG EAST regular season play. Rutgers is 2-3 at the RAC versus the Bearcats. Last season, Dane Miller (Rochester, N.Y.) had a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds and Eli Carter (Paterson, N.J.) shot 6-of-12 to score 17 points to help Rutgers defeat Cincinnati on a Saturday evening at the RAC. The Scarlet Knights maintained the lead for the final 16 minutes to provide Mike Rice his 100th career head coaching victory.
Rutgers is coming off a 58-56 win over metro rival St. John’s Wednesday evening at Madison Square Garden in a contest that featured 14 lead changes. Miller scored 11 points, all in the second half, while Austin Johnson (Elkins Park, Pa.) and Mike Poole (Rosedale, N.Y.) both contributed 10 points. Myles Mack (Paterson, N.J.) was a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line. The Scarlet Knights limited the Red Storm to one field goal in the final 6:30 of the contest, while holding STJ to just 35.2 percent shooting (19-of-54).
Mack leads the BIG EAST in free throw percentage (.917), while also placing fourth in three-point field goal percentage (.481), sixth in steals (2.07) and 10th in field goal percentage (.545). He is first among the league’s guards in field goal percentage. Fellow sophomore Eli Carter (Paterson, N.J.) is second in free throw percentage (.904) and eighth in scoring (16.9). As a team, the Scarlet Knights lead the conference in free throw percentage (.740).
Cincinnati, under the leadership of seventh-year head coach Mick Cronin, suffered a 66-60 home loss to No. 17/16 Notre Dame on Monday night. Guard Sean Kilpatrick scored 15 points and was the only Bearcat player in double figures. Kilpatrick leads UC and ranks fourth in the league in scoring at 17.7 points per game, while backcourt mate Cashmere Wright is second on the team at 14.3 ppg. The Bearcats are limiting opponents to 36.5 percent shooting, while also out-rebounding their foes by a +9.1 margin.