Piscataway, N.J. – Rutgers (12-6, 3-4) returns to the rugged road of the BIG EAST to meet UConn (12-5, 2-3) on Sunday (Jan. 27) in a 2 p.m. tip-off at the XL Center in Hartford. The Huskies have been ranked as highly as No. 21 this season. Both teams will be looking to end two game conference skids. The Scarlet Knights will be working on a four-day turnaround, while the Huskies have eight days to prepare for the match-up. RU has not earned a victory on Connecticut’s home court since defeating the Huskies 84-77 in triple overtime on Jan. 8, 1977 at the formerly named Hartford Civic Center. Both coaching staffs will be sporting sneakers with their suits in conjunction with the 10th annual Suits and Sneakers Weekend. A member of the NABC Coaches vs. Cancer National Council, Rice will ring the NASDAQ MarketSite closing bell in Times Square on Monday to officially close the Weekend.
The game will be produced by the BIG EAST Network and will be televised live in high definition in the New York metropolitan region on SNY and via the web at ESPN3.com with Kevin Connors calling the action and Tim Welsh 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. Chris Carlin will serve as play-by-play announcer and Dick Lloyd will provide commentary.
Sunday afternoon’s contest marks the 49th meeting between the Scarlet Knights and Huskies dating back to 1952, with UConn holding 34-14 advantage in victories. Rutgers is 3-18 all-time on the road, 1-4 in Hartford, and 2-17 in BIG EAST regular season play versus the Huskies. Last season, Rutgers limited No. 8 Connecticut to 37.7 percent (20-53) shooting and forced 20 Huskies’ turnovers in a 67-60 RU victory at the RAC. Guards Eli Carter (Paterson. N.J.) and Myles Mack (Paterson, N.J.) scored 19 and 14 points, respectively. Carter scored 11 of his points in the opening half, while Mack collected 11 of his points after the break. Both deposited three, three pointers and were clutch at the charity stripe. Carter made all four of his free throw attempts and Mack deposited five-of-six, including his initial four with less than a minute to play. The win snapped a 10-game losing streak to UConn.
Mack scored 17 points, but it was not enough to overcome an overall sluggish performance in a 72-60 home loss to St. John’s on Wednesday evening. 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 miscues in BIG EAST play this season.
Mack leads the BIG EAST in free throw percentage (.935), while also placing third in three-point field goal percentage (.466), ninth in steals (1.78) and 11th in field goal percentage (.513). He is first among the league’s guards in field goal percentage. Carter is second in free throw percentage (.895), also ranking 16th nationally in the category, and 10th in scoring (15.6). Judge is seventh in the league in field goal percentage (.559). As a team, the Scarlet Knights lead the conference in free throw percentage (.735).
UConn, under the leadership of first-year head coach Kevin Ollie, last played on Jan. 19 and suffered a 69-61 loss at Pittsburgh. The Huskies tied the game after trailing by as many as 14 points in the second half, but could not pull out the win. Ryan Boatright scored a game-high 20 points to go along with six assists, four rebounds and four steals. Omar Calhoun added 14 points. Shabazz Napier, who was held to eight points, leads the team in scoring (16.6) followed by Boatright (16.0).