PISCATAWAY N.J. (February 6, 2013) – Rutgers (12-9, 3-7) trailed by just two heading into halftime, but could not withstand No. 11/12 Louisville’s second half surge, falling 68-48 on Wednesday night at the RAC.
Louisville (19-4, 7-3) took advantage of RU’s offensive struggles to start the half, posting a pair of double-digit scoring runs that extended midway through the second half. After a 23-4 burst, the Cardinals held onto a 51-32 lead behind Wayne Blackshear, who lead to Cards with a game-high 19 points.
Sophomore guard Eli Carter (Paterson, N.J.), who scored 13 points on 5-of-14 shooting, led the Scarlet Knights in scoring for a team-high 10th time this season.
After an emphatic throw-down by junior forward Wally Judge (Washington, D.C.) to open the period and tie the game at 28, Louisville’s defense shut down the Scarlet Knights to take control of the contest.
The Cardinals went on a commanding, 13-0-run over the next five minutes, broken by an Austin Johnson (Elkins Park, Pa.) layup at the 15:11 mark. UofL’s Blackshear notched five points — a three-pointer and pair of free throws — during the run, bumping the Louisville lead to 41-30.
RU never trailed by more than seven points in the opening period, entering the locker room trailing just two, 28-26, at the half. Following a Cardinals miss at the 3:41 mark, Seagears tiptoed along the RU sideline to save the ball from going out of bounds. He then heaved it to the half court to Johnson, who found Carter for breakaway layup to cut the lead to 22-19.
Moments later, a Seagears three-pointer brought the game to a 22-22 tie, before a pair free throws by Derrick Randall (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Carter also tied the game at the 0:48 second and 0:12 second-marks, respectively. A pair of free throws by UofL’s Peyton Silva gave the Cardinals a two-point advantage heading into halftime.
Louisville took advantage of their patented full-court press from the get-go, building a 14-7 lead eight minutes into the contest courtesy of six points off RU turnovers. Back-to-back jumpers by Carter, who scored 11 points in the period, cut the lead to 14-11 and forced the Cardinals into taking their first timeout of the game.
The Scarlet Knights get a short rest before welcoming No. 20/21 Georgetown to the RAC on Saturday, Feb. 9 for a noon tipoff. RU is 1-1 at the RAC this season in Saturday contests.
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- For the 17th time this season, Eli Carter notched double-digits with 13 points. The sophomore paced RU for the 10th time this season.
- Carter posted double-figures in the first half for the 13th time in his career and seventh this season. It marked the first time since Pitt (Jan. 5) that the guard has scored 10-plus over the first 20 minutes.
- When Carter scored more than 10 in the first half, the Scarlet Knights are 4-2 this season.
- RU drops to 1-7 when shooting less than 40 percent.
- Myles Mack posted double-digits for the 16th time this season and sixth time over the last seven games with 12 points.
- Wally Judge matched a season high with five free throws made and broke a personal-best at Rutgers with eight attempts.
- Judge grabbed eight boards, the most since Rider on Dec. 28.
- Head coach Mike Rice went with the starting lineup of Mack, Carter, Poole, Judge and Jack – his ninth different starting lineup this season.
- It marked Mike Poole’s fifth start of the season and second-straight.
- Dane Miller had his 44-straight starting streak ended vs. Louisville.
- No Scarlet Knight has started more than 14-straight contests (Wally Judge).
- Derrick Randall played 16 minutes and has averaged 16.5 minutes of play over the last two games.
- Jerome Seagears was named to Court Club Player of the Month for January. During the month, the sophomore averaged 7.9 points and 2.5 rebounds while maintaining 2.9 assist to turnover ratio.
- RU falls to 3-6 when less than three players post 10 points.
- The Scarlet Knights have had five different players lead the team in scoring over the last eight contests (Miller, Mack, Judge, Carter, Mack, Seagears, Mack, Carter).
- When committing more turnovers than its opponent, the Scarlet Knights fall to 6-8.
- The 48 points scored marked the fewest for Rutgers this season and the lowest output since Feb. 22, 2011 vs. No. 16 Louisville (37).
- The .250 percent shooting in the second half marked the worst over the second 20 minutes since Villanova on 3/6/12.
Rutgers Head Coach Mike Rice
Opening statement: “I thought it was a tale of two different halves. One was a patient, disciplined Rutgers team with resolve and a purpose. The second half, we just got too rushed and too quick again. Whether it was some missed opportunities in the paint or missed free throws, which led to their long runs and our long draughts. I told them in the locker room that no one is getting us out of this funk and this feeling except us. I credit the Rutgers student section for coming out strong for us, and I appreciate it, but no one’s getting us out of this funk except for the 14 players and this staff. You have to dig deep and have a mental toughness in the next 48 hours in preparing for Georgetown.”
On the Louisville run early in the second half: “Louisville turns it up. That’s who they are. They’re a top ten team in the country; I think they’re a final four team. But also as I looked at the shot chart, we had four missed layups in the first four minutes, and after Wally [Judge]’s missed dunk, we just had turnovers. Our guards had a couple of sloppy, careless turnovers. I thought they had the same pressure in the first half, but we were stronger. We had more of a purpose to us.”
On what Rutgers needs to do to get out of the ‘funk’: “[We need to] win a game. It’s difficult in this league because this is supposed to be fun; this is supposed to be the best part of their lives.”
On playing Louisville: “I think the top-10 teams in the country, if you’re not on their talent level, they’ll give you some problems. I thought we handled attack pressure well in the first half. You can’t blink against this team. If you’re inconsistent, which Rutgers is, which my team is, that’s a bad sign because they’re going to take advantage of you.
On what’s needed from the front court: “Rebounding. If we’re going to get you shots in the paint, you’ve either got to finish or get fouled, and that’s what we’re looking for. The first half, I didn’t love the way they rebounded. Of the four bigs, they only had four rebounds between them. They have to have more of a motor. Derrick [Randall] and Kadeem [Jack] are still kind of developing, but they’re now old enough to go and figure out how to rebound in the BIG EAST.
On capitalizing on opportunities: “It’s huge. You have to finish. You have to finish or get fouled, and if you get fouled you have to convert. You have to play better. They’re not playing good enough right now, our bigs.”
Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino
On Opening the Second Half Strong:
“Well we’ve been lucky, we’ve done it quite a bit. I told the guys at halftime, ‘Look, it’s their pace. They play everybody tough.” They led Cincinnati for 35 minutes, they beat Pitt here, I said, “Don’t be concerned, you’ll have your run.” We made a couple of adjustments on our press and then the guys just showed some tremendous athletic ability.”
On Wayne Blackshear’s aggressiveness:
“I think Wayne has really worked hard on his jump shot. He had no arc in high school and now he’s developed a picture perfect jump shot, he knows how to play the game, he’s a tough kid and he’s probably been for the last two weeks 100-percent for the first time in three years.”
On Blackshear’s Role Going Forward:
“We’re going to start him; it’s just that right now we’re winning. We’ll either keep him coming in off the bench as long as we win or until we go to DePaul.”
On Him Learning during His Injury:
“He’s improved his shooting tremendously. The last hurdle is putting it on the deck, improving his handle to run pick and rolls and do those things. Once he gets that — he’s a great defender, rebounder, good passer, smart kid — lookout he’s going to be a hell of a player.”