South Bend, Ind. (January 19, 2013) – Despite 20 points from sophomore guard Eli Carter (Paterson, N.J.), Rutgers basketball fell just short at No. 20/20 Notre Dame, 69-66, on Saturday night at the Purcell Pavilion. The Scarlet Knights (12-5, 3-3) rallied back from a 13-point second half deficit, but could not take the lead late in an exciting finish at the Joyce Center.
Sophomores Myles Mack (Paterson, N.J.) and Kadeem Jack (Queens, N.Y.) added 12 and eight points, respectively. Senior wing Dane Miller (Rochester, N.Y.) filled the stat sheet with seven points, nine rebounds, five assists and three blocks.
Jack Cooley posted a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds for Notre Dame (15-3, 3-2). Pat Connaughton (17 points) and Eric Atkins (14 points) rounded out the scoring for ND.
Down six with under a minute to play, the Scarlet Knights would not concede, as Carter slashed to the basket to cut the ND lead to four, 66-62 with 48 seconds left. A turnover by the Irish gave RU the ball with 25 seconds on the clock. Carter missed a jumper, but junior Mike Poole (Rosedale, N.Y.) was there for the rebound, slamming the ball home.
An immediate foul put Connaughton on the line, where he made one of two shots. Down one with 5.7 seconds on the clock, Carter drove hard to the basket, but was called for an offensive foul. Atkins made two free throws to account for the final tally.
Notre Dame scored 12 of the first 18 points out of the break to build a 50-37 lead with just under 16 minutes to play. Rutgers roared back, busting out an 11-2 run capped by a back-down move by Jack and a floater by Carter. An and-one leaning basket by Miller and a drive by Mack brought the score within three, 56-53 at the 8:47 mark.
The Irish went into halftime with a 38-31 advantage, as three ND players posted double-figures. Leading 22-20 at the 7:58 mark, Notre Dame ripped off a 9-0 burst to take its largest lead of the half with 6:35 to play.
Rutgers would not give in, bringing the score within three twice. Carter drained a long three and Mack followed with a slicing drive to the basket, as RU trailed 34-31 with just over two minutes before the half. The Irish scored the last four points over 43 seconds to a take a seven-point lead into the locker room.
Rutgers heads back to the RAC for the second matchup in two weeks with St. John’s. The Scarlet Knights held on to defeat the Red Storm, 58-56, on Jan. 9. Tip is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and the contest will air on SNY.
Follow Rutgers Men’s Basketball on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/RMensBasketball) and Twitter (@RutgersMBB) for all of the latest news and updates. Head coach Mike Rice also maintains a Twitter account and can be followed @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.
- Eli Carter scored 20 points, his 14th double-figure game of the season and 39th of his career.
- The sophomore posted a 20-plus game for the seventh time this season and the 12th of his career.
- It signaled Carter’s best scoring game since Pittsburgh (23 points, 1/5).
- This marks the fourth contest vs. a ranked opponent for RU this season. The Scarlet Knights move to 1-3 against ranked foes.
- Rutgers moves to 13-19 all-time against Notre Dame, including 2-3 over the last five meetings. RU is 10-14 in BIG EAST regular season play vs. UND and 2-12 on the Irish’s home court.
- Dane Miller filled the stat sheet with seven points, nine rebounds, five assists and three blocks.
- Miller paced RU in rebounding for the sixth time this season and 48th of his career.
- Myles Mack posted double-figures for the 13th time this season and 28th of his career with 12 points. It marked the fourth time in five games the guard has scored 10-plus.
- The Scarlet Knights now hold a 5-2 record in games decided by less than five points. RU falls to 9-3 in games decided by 10-points or less.
- Rutgers has outrebounded nine opponents this season, falling to 6-3 when outrebounding its opponent (31-26).
- It marks the first loss in games decided by less than five points since Nov. 9.
- In five games coming off the bench, Austin Johnson is posted an 8.2 points per game average.
- Of the 10 players that saw action, eight scored four-plus points.
- The Scarlet Knights fall to 3-4 when less than three players score 10-plus.
- Miller now owns 41-straight starts.
- Head coach Mike Rice went with the starting lineup of Seagears, Mack, Carter, Judge and Miller for the fourth-straight game. The Scarlet Knights move to 2-1 with this lineup.
HEAD COACH MIKE RICE
Opening Statement: “I thought it was a tremendous BIG EAST basketball contest. Two teams scratching and clawing. Over the first six minutes, we gave them too many (open looks). (There was) not enough communications between our basketball team. We started guarding ball screens differently and we didn’t communicate very well. We gave them too many open looks. I liked our response, though. We didn’t put our heads down. Guys fought back. Guys didn’t quit and it was a one-possession game. It’s just tough the way that we lost it.”
On second-to-last offensive possession: “I wanted him to drive in. In all BIG EAST games, that’s what you do. You create some contact. You put pressure on the defense. I thought Eli did exactly what I wanted Eli Carter to do – drive in the paint. They saw things differently than I did. It’s a tough job being a referee in the BIG EAST.”
On charge call: “I thought he was outside the box. No one was really sure whether he was outside the box, to be honest with you. That is a bang-bang play. I would not want to be a BIG EAST referee in that position. That’s a tough way to lose it because that is exactly what we wanted to do. Drive into the paint and we had our leading scorer driving into contact. He did run someone over, but I thought he was under the basket.”
On knowing his team: “I know that I have a better team than I’ve had the last two years. I know that I have some scoring ability, inside and out. I know we have to become more consistent in everything that we do.”