PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Rutgers (13-15, 4-13) travels north up the New Jersey Turnpike Friday night to meet Garden State rival Seton Hall (14-16, 3-14) at the Prudential Center in a 7 p.m. tip-off in round two of the annual “Turnpike Tussle.” The Scarlet Knights will be working to snap a five game skid, while the Pirates will be looking to bounce back from a 76-66 home defeat versus Providence on Tuesday. The game marks the regular season finale for both squads as they prepare for opening round match-ups on Tuesday (March 12) night at the BIG EAST Championship. The Scarlet Knights have the opportunity to sweep the regular season series with the Pirates for the first time since 2000-01 and finish ahead of SHU in the BIG EAST standings for the first time since 2001-02. Earlier this season, RU defeated Seton Hall 57-55 at the RAC.
The game will be televised live in high definition in the New York Metropolitan market on SNY and via the web at ESPN3.com with Quint Kessenich calling the action and John Celestand 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, as well as on Sirius 94 and XM 191. Chris Carlin will serve as play-by-play announcer and Dick Lloyd will provide commentary. WRSU (88.7) will also broadcast the game.
Friday evening’s contest marks the 64th meeting between the schools on the collegiate hardwood dating back to 1916, with Seton Hall holding a 35-28 advantage in victories. Sixteen of the last 18 meetings have been decided by six points or less or in overtime. In BIG EAST regular-season play, SHU holds a 20-12 lead, but Rutgers has won three of the last five contests played at “The Rock.” Overall, RU is 5-15 all-time on SHU’s home floor. On Feb. 12, the Scarlet Knights never trailed and led by as many as 13 points in the second half while limiting the Pirates to 36.7 percent (18-of-49) shooting in a 57-55 victory. Sophomore guards Eli Carter (Paterson, N.J.) and Myles Mack (Paterson, N.J.) paced RU in the scoring column with 14 and 10 points, respectively.
Rutgers is coming off a 60-54 loss to No. 15/17 Marquette on Tuesday night at the RAC, the team’s second straight defeat to a nationally-ranked foe. The Scarlet Knights held the lead for nearly 35 minutes, but the Golden Eagles turned it up late on both ends, going 4-4 from the free throw line in the final 14 seconds to seal the victory. Misses at the free throw line and turnovers in the final minutes circumvented a hard-fought effort by the Scarlet Knights, who led by as many as 12 points in the second half. Mack and Jerome Seagears (Silver Spring, Md.) paced RU (15-13, 4-13) with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Sophomore forward Derrick Randall (Brooklyn, N.Y.) posted a season-best eight points on 4-5 shooting.
Mack is second in the BIG EAST in both free throw percentage (.882) and three-point field goal percentage (.453), while also ranking seventh in steals (1.68) and 12th in field goal percentage (.483). He is first among the league’s guards in field goal percentage.
Five players scored in double figures for Seton Hall in the loss versus the Friars on Tuesday night. Guard Fuquan Edwin led the Pirates with 15 points, six rebounds, three assists and three blocks. SHU shot 55.6 percent in the first half, but just 31.0 percent after the break. The Pirates entered the second half trailing 43-36 and were never able to make much of a dent in the deficit. SHU came within five with eight minutes remaining, but a 12-3 Providence run over the next three minutes provided PC a steady advantage for the remainder. Edwin is sixth in the BIG EAST in scoring (16.9) and second in steals (2.5).