PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Rutgers (13-13, 4-11) either tied or drew within one score of visiting Providence (15-11, 7-8) five times in the second half, but could not break away late, falling, 76-72, to the Friars Saturday night at the RAC. Redshirt sophomore forward Kadeem Jack (Queens, N.Y.) sparked the Scarlet Knights at both ends of the floor, earning his first career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Senior wing Dane Miller (Rochester, N.Y.) and junior guard Mike Poole (Rosedale, N.Y.) joined Jack in double figures with 17 and 11 points, respectively. Miller, who had 12 second half points, was 6-of-9 from the field and grabbed eight rebounds.
Providence, which has won five of its last six BIG EAST games, closed the first half on a 19-0 run and never looked back, as RU could not retake the lead after the midpoint.
A pair of free-throws by sophomore guard Jerome Seagears (Silver Spring, Md.) gave RU a chance with 0:48 seconds remaining, cutting the Providence advantage to 72-69. But a layup by PC’s Vincent Council on the alternating possession once again made it a two-possession game, sealing the win for the Friars.
A late run 8-0 run by Providence from the 3:36 to 1:15 mark set up the Friars’ seventh conference win of the season, and extended their winning streak to three games against the Scarlet Knights. PC had four players score in double-figures, as Bryce Cotton led all scorers with 22 points on 7-18 shooting.
Junior forward Wally Judge (Washington, D.C.) neared a double-double with seven points and eight boards. Sophomore guard Myles Mack (Paterson, N.J.) had his streak of double-digit scoring efforts come to a halt at three games, as the guard scored nine points on 3-of-10 shooting.
An 11-3 scoring spurt by RU – spearheaded by five points from Miller –tied the game at 52-52 with 10:58 remaining, the first tie since the 2:29 mark of the first half. But eight straight points from PC’s LaDontae Henton, who finished with 18 points, allowed the Friars to regain the advantage with 7:01 left on the game clock.
The Scarlet Knights held onto a double-digit lead three different times in the first half and led PC for nearly 16 minutes, but a hot shooting display by Providence to close the period gave the Friars a 42-33 lead heading into the locker room.
Providence went on a 19-0 run in the final minutes of the half, beginning with a jumper by Cotton Bryce with 4:16 left on the clock. Bryce would go on to hit a three-pointer in the closing seconds of the first half, and led all scorers with 11 points on 4-9 shooting.
RU went on a run to begin the contest, building a 15-5 lead five minutes into the game. The Scarlet Knights allowed just one Providence field goal over the first five minutes, as the Friars shot 11.1 percent in that frame. Seven different Scarlet Knights scored in the half.
RU does not play again until Saturday, March 2, when the team travels to the nation’s capital to take on No. 11/11 Georgetown. Tip-off is slated for 9 p.m. The contest will be televised nationally in high definition on ESPNU.
The Scarlet Knights are 16-28 all time against the Hoyas after dropping the first meeting between the two teams this season, 69-63. RU’s last win against Georgetown came on Feb. 14, 2010 at the RAC.
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- Dane Miller scored in double-digits for the eighth time this season and 52nd time of his career. It was his first double-figure output Jan. 9 (St. John’s).
- Miller’s 17 points was his second highest total this season. His season high (18) came on Dec. 28 against Rider.
- Miller’s recorded eight rebounds, his highest total since grabbing nine boards on Jan. 23 (St. John’s).
- Kadeem Jack recorded his first career double-double, scoring 15 points and snatching 10 rebounds.
- Jack’s 15 points were a new career high. He also tied a career high in field goals made (six).
- Mack had his streak of double-digit scoring efforts end at three. The guard scored nine points on 3-10 shooting. His longest streak was nine games from Nov. 12 (Sacred Heart) to Dec. 21 (Howard),
- Jack posted double-figures for the fourth time this season and second in BIG EAST play.
- Three players scored in double-digits for the second consecutive game.
- Mike Poole scored in double figures for the fourth time this season and first time since Jan. 23 (St. John’s). It was the 17th double-digit scoring effort of his career.
- RU moves to 9-5 when three or more players post double-figures.
- Malick Kone earned double digit minutes (12) for the second straight game.
- Rutgers dropped to 6-6 when outrebounding opponents this season.
- Head coach Mike Rice went with the starting lineup of Mack, Seagears, Poole Judge and Johnson for the second consecutive game.
- Wally Judge owns the longest active starting streak at 19-straight games.
- Against Providence, Rutgers moves to 8-16 all-time. RU is last beat the Friars on Jan. 8, 2011, at the RAC.
- Of the ten players that saw action, seven scored at least four points.
Rutgers Head Coach Mike Rice
Opening statement: “It was certainly tough to get over the run at the end of the first half, the last four and a half minutes where it was a 19-0 run. Besides that, we had a good effort, but in the BIG EAST, that’s not good enough. You need to fight for 40 minutes and be consistent. We didn’t have it tonight. It got tight, a one-possession game. We just didn’t get a stop when we needed to and that was the difference. They finished the game and we didn’t.”
On the Providence run: “We blinked. They are a talented offensive team, so you are not going to completely shut them down. You can’t get sad. You can’t stop fight and we do. We have a tendency, when (the opponent) goes on a run, we have a tendency to feel sorry for ourselves. You are in the wrong league to do that. We have to have that mentality and toughness for 40 minutes. We have to develop a consistency for 40 minutes.”
On developing consistency: Maybe getting sad or losing that edge. I don’t know if it’s feeling sorry for themselves that something bad happened on the offensive end. Completely losing that edge and its frustrating. Again, it goes to different players. Tonight, it cost us the game.”
On defensive possession at three-point game: “We went small. We were going to (switch) one-through-five and make them take a guarded shot.
A lot of tonight, we couldn’t get a defensive shot. They kept driving us. They didn’t get an advantage because none of their screens worked because we kept switching everything, but it was the inability to keep someone in front of us. It hurt us. At home, you can’t let the opponent take your passion, your energy, your edge. They did that to us tonight. They’ve done it the last month. There was some positives.
There was a fight back in the second half that I liked. There was som execution. Moral victories aren’t working here. We need consistency and a mentality.”
Providence Head Coach Ed Cooley
Opening Statement: “The way we started the game off today I thought all of our guys were really leveling up and we were able to get over the hump. I thought we had contributions all over the place and I’m just happy about the win.”
On Team’s Performance: “Tonight we kind of played transition ball. We really have advantages over a lot of BIG EAST teams, and it’s not our size I think it’s our quickness, in particular at the 1, 2 and 3. But the fact that we were able to make perimeter shots makes us a really hard guard because we feel like our guys can get into the lane and that was a big part of our scouting, to get in the lane, pitch and penetrate and penetrate with our quickness.”
On Switching Defenses: “We had to get them out of rhythm a little bit. They were doing a really good job carving us up, but a lot of it was coming off offensive rebounds. They had 18 offensive rebounds, I don’t think they only had seven in the first half, but part of their offensive was coming off the backboard and we had to do anything to slow them down. They do a good job in their offense and execute really well.”
On Vincent Council’s Performance: “We’re a good basketball team when he’s facilitating. We’re a better basketball team when he’s an assist leader versus a scorer. When you’re a senior and you’ve been in this league for as long as he’s been, you need your seniors to score the baskets when you need to win games and I thought tonight on his drive he had the basket that basically sealed the game. That’s what you need your seniors to do when they’re point guards.”
On Turning Season Around: “Our guys, and I don’t know how many of you have followed our program, but we’ve had five different personalities this year as a team. With Council, without Council for 11or 12 games; with [Bryce] Cotton without Council in a couple games; and then we had a situation with our team where we had to remove a player. So our chemistry, with [Kris] Dunn coming off a shoulder surgery, and then getting Council back our team went through an identity crisis. To their credit we’ve been able to get it together, but I feel it’s started on the defense. If you don’t guard in this league you have no chance of winning – no chance. If you can’t guard then you might as well go home, and I think our defensive mindset really changed and that’s allowed us to turn the corner. We’re really proud of our group.”