PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Sophomore guard Myles Mack (Paterson, N.J.) scored 17 points, but it was not enough to overcome an overall sluggish performance by Rutgers (12-6, 3-4) in a 72-60 loss to St. John’s (12-7, 4-3) Wednesday evening at the RAC. The Red Storm shot 59.1 percent (13-of-22) in the second half to secure the victory, while RU made just 11-of-33 field goal attempts after the break.
Juniors Mike Poole (Rosedale, N.Y.) and Wally Judge (Washington, D.C.) posted 11 and 10 points, respectively. Poole was 5-of-10 from the field with four rebounds, while Judge was 5-of-6 shooting with four boards.
The Scarlet Knights established a 41-40 rebounding advantage, but also committed 17 turnovers. It marked their most miscue in BIG EAST play thus far this season.
Rutgers jumped-out to a 6-0 advantage before running its lead to nine points (18-9) on a Judge lay-up. The Johnnies battled back to within two prior to a 6-1 RU run that provided the home squad a 28-21 buffer. The visitors proceeded to score the opening half’s final eight points, taking a 29-28 edge into the locker room at the midpoint.
The run continued after intermission, with St. John’s extending its advantage to 38-28 with 15 minutes to play. A seven point run, capped by a Jerome Seagears (Silver Spring, Md.) three-pointer with 13:17 on the clock, brought Rutgers to within three, 38-35, but the Scarlet Knights would get no closer.
JaKarr Sampson had 21 points and seven rebounds to pace St. John's, which captured its third straight victory. D’Angelo Harrison added 20 points.
The Scarlet Knights return to the hardwood on Sunday (Jan. 27) afternoon in Hartford to face UConn in a 2 p.m. tip-off at the XL Center. The game will be televised live on SNY.
- Myles Mack posted double-figures for the 14th time this season and 29th of his career with 17 points. It marked the fifth time in six games (and fourth-straight) the guard has scored 10-plus.
- Mack paced RU in scoring for the fifth time in 2012-13.
- The Scarlet Knights have had four different players lead the team in scoring over the last five contests (Miller, Mack, Judge, Carter, Mack).
- Rutgers moves to 14-26 all-time against the St. John’s, including 7-14 in BIG EAST regular season play.
- Head coach Mike Rice went with the starting lineup of Seagears, Mack, Carter, Judge and Miller for the fifth-straight game. The Scarlet Knights move to 2-3 with this lineup.
- Miller now owns 42-straight starts. The senior is 15 points away from 1,000 for his career.
- Dane Miller pulled down nine rebounds. The senior has paced the Scarlet Knights in rebounding seven times this season.
- Wally Judge scored double-digits for the seventh time this season and second time over the last three games with 10 points.
- Mike Poole tallied 10-plus points with 11 for the third time this season and twice against St. John’s.
- Kadeem Jack grabbed six rebounds. Over the last four games, the sophomore has averaged 6.0 boards.
- Of the 10 players that saw action, six scored four-plus points.
- Rutgers has outrebounded 10 opponents this season, falling to 6-4 when outrebounding its opponent.
- The Scarlet Knights drop to 9-2 when three or more players score 10-plus.
- It marks the first time this season that RU has dropped two games in a row.
- The .365 percent shooting from the field marked the lowest output since Syracuse. RU falls to 1-4 when shooting less than 40 percent.
- During BIG EAST play, Jerome Seagears maintains a 3.0 assist/turnover ratio, including dishing out three assists to one turnover vs. St. John’s.
Rutgers Head Coach Mike Rice
Opening statement: “I think it boiled down to defensive inconsistencies. We’ve got it the first half, but our turnovers led to transition buckets and that gave them the lead at halftime. I thought that our defense was better than solid. I thought we were attentive to details, I thought we were taking it personal, the one-on-one challenges that St. John’s presents in the second half we blinked. Whether it’s free throws, poor offensive execution, missed layups… they hit shots, and I’ll give them credit. Whether it was Sampson or Harrison or the rest of them, they wanted it more, and that’s usually what wins BIG EAST basketball games ”
On Rutgers mishaps in St. John’s 17-0 run: “We weren’t making any buckets. I wasn’t disgusted with some of the execution, but we have to be tougher. You have to finish layups; we missed nine layups in the first half alone. This group has to become more consistent, and the first thing about it is the toughness aspect.
On Eli Carter’s performance: “We have to address some situations, but if you’re not scoring, there are other parts of the game that you can excel at to help your team, and that goes for a lot of our players. If it’s not dropping for one reason or another, pick up the challenge defensively, make some assists. Do something, make a play for your team, a winning play. Right now it’s affecting him. Putting the ball in the bucket is affecting him while he’s on the floor.”
On being perimeter oriented: “That’s something we’ve continued to work on, and that’s what we talked about leading into the second half. Let’s shove the ball down in the paint, let’s attack, and that’s just one of those things we’re going to have to work on and get better at. We’ve gotten a little bit better at it, but we have to become more consistent.”
On the importance of the game: “Every game, to be honest with you, in the BIG EAST, is important. Every game means so much. I don’t have control of the crowd and who shows up, but I do have control of my team. I was very disappointed in our lack of compete tonight, and our lack of execution especially in the defensive end, and that’s what I can control. I know we’ll go back to work and gauge the fight in this team.”
“You’re going to lose some games, but how you respond to that is what type of season you have.”
St. John's Head Coach Steve Lavin
Opening statement: “Looking at the statistics, in the big picture I think our aggressiveness and our defense fueled our offense. We talked about that the last couple of weeks. It has been a theme and it is continuing to emerge. I think the kids understand now more clearly that when you play defense, that’s going to fuel and propel your offense. I thought tonight was another example of that. The numbers bear that out. Shooting 60 percent in the second half, when you shoot 60 percent on the road at Rutgers against a team that’s known for their defense and their toughness, their tenacity and their aggressiveness, it says a lot about our kids taking some baby steps in the right direction. Then, if you look at the fact that we held them to 33 percent, then that explains how we shot 60 (percent). Again, those two are always tied in as we talked about. People say, ‘What’s wrong with your offense?’ I say, ‘What’s wrong with our offense? It’s our defense.’ Now, because we’re at a whole different level, defensively we’re starting to grow and that’s really helping our offense. Then, I just think Dom Pointer’s (Sir’Dominic Pointer) line tonight is one of the more unusual, exceptional lines of any player I’ve coached in my career. Sometimes, I’ve had kids that dropped 36 (points), or have 18 rebounds, or have nine blocks. Earl Watson in a game had 16 assists against Maryland in the (2000) NCAA Tournament, some pretty remarkable stats. But, (Pointer’s) line across the board is really just kind of unusual. You’ve got someone with 13 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and six steals. He was moving to a quadruple-double. That’s very unusual. I think he’s the ‘Tasmanian Devil,’ he’s the straw that stirs the drink or the energizer for our team. He has been the difference here in the last couple of weeks for St. John’s.”
On if this is the team’s most mature win of the season: “It’s hard to separate out, because Cincinnati given where they were, at that time ranked, and the fact we were coming off an overtime loss at Villanova, a heartbreaking loss that we let get away by a three-point shooter at the end of regulation. I think the bounce-back against Cincinnati was a sign of good things to come. Then, I thought Notre Dame because of coming off a heart-breaking loss to Rutgers was equally impressive for a different reason. That was a critical juncture in the season. It goes south when you have a crisis in confidence. We pulled that win out. This was a pretty dominating performance from start to finish. I think it’s a team that’s growing and we’re seeing the development right before our eyes. It’s similar to my first team, but these kids are younger so it makes it more impressive. There is more dramatic, kind of quantum leaps in their development. That was an older group that just hadn’t had success in terms of winning, but they were older. This group is really young and so that, I think, makes this win impressive. It would be hard for me to really separate them out, but I do think this was maybe one of our better sustained efforts because as you alluded to, they did make a run but then we pulled it out after they cut it to six. It really could have gone to 18 or 20 or 21 if we had just converted at the foul line.”