Hartford, Conn. – Despite a career-best 21 points from Jerome Seagears (Silver Spring, Md.), Rutgers (12-7, 3-5) fell to Connecticut (13-5, 3-3), 66-54, Sunday afternoon in front of a crowd of 12,768 at the XL Center. The Scarlet Knights shot just 39.3 percent (22-56) and committed 16 turnovers in the defeat, including nine in the second half.
“I give UConn a lot of credit, they struggled in spurts to score, but they found ways in the end to put their foot on the gas and run away with it,” said Rutgers head coach Mike Rice. “Our team continues to struggle with carelessness, both offensively and defensively.”
Seagears was 8-of-15 from the field, including 4-of-7 from behind the arc, in a team-high 34 minutes.
“Jerome had energy to him and started off making some shots,” added Rice. “We can’t have one or two players (being productive). We need four or five players. Our balance has gone out the window because guys are too inconsistent. I appreciate Jerome’s game, but we need more for victory on the road in the BIG EAST.”
Sophomore forward Kadeem Jack (Queens, N.Y.) neared a double-double for RU with eight points and nine rebounds. Eli Carter (Paterson, N.J.) added 13 points and six boards.
Shabazz Napier paced UConn with 19 points, while DeAndre Daniels posted 13 points and seven rebounds for the Huskies.
The Scarlet Knights connected early, making five of their initial eight shots to take an 11-6 lead five minutes into the contest. Seagears sunk all three of his shots to account for seven of those points.
The Huskies posted 12 of the next 14 points to take their first lead of the game, 18-13, at the 9:43 mark. After back-to-back baskets by the RU big men brought the score within one, UConn ran off nine of the next 12 points to take a 27-20 advantage into the locker room at the midpoint.
Rutgers roared out of the break, busting out a 10-1 run as Seagears hit two threes over the rally. Connecticut would not give in, however, as Napier hit two deep threes over a 16-7 run to regain the lead, 44-37. RU answered with a 6-2 spurt to pull within three, but UConn rattled off the next 10 points to take its largest lead of the game, 56-43 with just under two minutes to play.
Rutgers continues on the road, heading to No. 21/20 Cincinnati on Wednesday, Jan. 30. Game time is set for 7 p.m. The contest will be televised live on SNY.
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- Jerome Seagears posted a new career high with 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting (also both personal-best marks). The sophomore also notched career highs in three pointers made (four) and attempted (seven).
- Seagears posted double-figures for the first time this season and the first time since March 1, 2012 (Villanova). The sophomore has 11 double-figure games over his career.
- It marked the first time Seagears has eclipsed the 20-point plateau.
- Eli Carter posted 13 points, his 15th double-digit scoring effort this season.
- Carter grabbed six rebounds, the third time this season and seventh overall that the sophomore has tallied five-plus rebounds.
- Kadeem Jack paced RU with nine rebounds, adding eight points. Jack has paced RU in boards seven times this season – tied with Dane Miller for the team lead.
- Over the last five games, the sophomore has averaged 6.6 boards.
- The Scarlet Knights have had five different players lead the team in scoring over the last six contests (Miller, Mack, Judge, Carter, Mack, Seagears).
- During BIG EAST play, Seagears maintains a 2.9 assist/turnover ratio, including dishing out two assists to one turnover vs. UConn.
- RU drops to 1-5 when shooting less than 40 percent.
- When committing more turnovers than its opponent, the Scarlet Knights fall to 6-6.
- Myles Mack grabbed three-plus steals (three) for the sixth time this season. Mack also dished out four assists.
- Rutgers drops to 3-5 when less than three players post 10-plus points.
- In the all-time series, the Scarlet Knights fall to 14-35. The squad has not won at UConn since 1977.
- Head coach Mike Rice went with the starting lineup of Seagears, Miller, Mack, Judge and Jack – his seventh different starting lineup this season.
- Kadeem Jack earned his first start since Nov. 9 (Saint Peter’s).
- Miller now owns 43-straight starts. The senior is 15 points away from 1,000 for his career.
- Of the nine players that saw action, five scored four-plus points.