PISCATAWAY, N.J. - A go-ahead 3-pointer by senior J.J. Moore (Brentwood, N.Y.) with 30 seconds left and two big free throws by redshirt junior Kadeem Jack (Queens, N.Y.) late allowed Rutgers basketball to grind out a 72-71 win over Yale Thursday evening at the Rutgers Athletic Center.
Jack went 2-for-2 from the line with 14 seconds left on the clock, as Yale missed a last-second jumper to end the contest. Moore hit a pair of 3-pointers down the stretch for the Scarlet Knights, making it a 68-65 contest with 1:31 to go before giving RU its first lead (70-69) since 2:17 remained in the first half with another 3-pointer at the 30-second mark.
Four Scarlet Knights scored in double-figures for the second time in three games – Jack, Moore, junior Myles Mack (Paterson, N.J.) and junior Malick Kone (Conakry, Guinea) – as RU had the edge on the boards (37-29) and in the paint (36-26) in the win.
Jack led RU with 18 points and eight rebounds, including 11 points in the second half. Mack notched 17 points while shooting 9-of-10 from the free throw line. Kone posted just the second double-digit scoring effort of his career, recording 12 points off the bench. Moore recorded 10 points, his third consecutive double-digit outing.
Rutgers trailed by as many as eight with 8:09 remaining in the contest but went on a 23-14 run in the final eight minutes to seal the win.
The RU defense turned it up in that span, forcing four turnovers while holding the Bulldogs to just three points from the field and a 25 percent shooting clip. Yale scored 11 of its final 14 points from the charity stripe.
The Scarlet Knights entered the locker room at halftime facing a 37-34 deficit after the Bulldogs recorded the most efficient shooting clip by an opponent in any half this season. Yale went 5-of-10 from beyond the arc and shot 53.8 percent from the field overall in the period. Javier Duren led all scorers with 10 points in the period.
Mack led RU with eight points in the opening half, recording a 2-of-4 shooting clip and 4-of-4 mark from the charity stripe.
The Scarlet Knights are back in action on Monday, Nov. 18 at the RAC for the NIT Season Tip-off. RU will face Canisius at 7:30 p.m. The contest will be broadcast live via the web on ESPN3.
- Four RU players scored in double figures against the Bulldogs - redshirt junior Kadeem Jack (Queens, N.Y.), junior guard Myles Mack (Paterson, N.J.), junior forward Malick Kone (Conakry, Guinea) and senior forward J.J. Moore (Brentwood, N.Y.). It was the second time in three games four players scored in double-figures.
- Jack scored 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting, scoring in double figures for the third time this season and eighth time of his career.
- Mack scored 17 points on 4-of-11 shooting. It was his third game with double-digits this season and 41st of his career.
- Mack tied his career-high in makes and attempts from the free throw line, going 9-of-10.
- Kone scored 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting. It was the second double-figure game of his career and first since Nov. 11, 2011, when he recorded a career-high 17 points.
- The Scarlet Knights outscored Yale, 36-26, in the paint. It was the second time in three games RU has accomplished that feat this season.
- Rutgers’ 22 second-chance points was its most this season.
- Moore tied his Rutgers-high of two made 3-pointers, shooting 2-of-6 from beyond the arc.
- Jack and redshirt senior Wally Judge (Washington, D.C.) have recorded at least one block in all three games this season. Both swatted one shot apiece.
- Jack set a new career high in steals with three and tied his previous career-high of two steals in the first half of action.
- Jack notched the first 3-pointer of his career on his first-ever 3-point attempt with 6:45 remaining in the second half.
- Junior D’Von Campbell (Arlington, Texas) tied his career high of four 3-point attempts, going 2-of-4 from beyond the arc.
- RU set a new season-high with 10 steals against the Bulldogs. It was the highest steals total since March 8, 2013 in a 56-51 win over in-state rival Seton Hall.
- Jack scored the first Rutgers points of the game on a mid-range jumper to make it 2-2. Three different players have registered the first points for RU through three games – Jack, Mack and Judge.
- Eddie Jordan went with the starting lineup of forward Kadeem Jack, forward Wally Judge, guard Myles Mack, forward J.J. Moore and guard Jerome Seagears for the third consecutive game.
Rutgers Head Coach Eddie Jordan
Opening Statement: “We started very, very poorly – non-energy, not executing. I was very disappointed with how we started the game, but we just kept digging and in the end we worked hard to get some breaks and made some big shots and big free throws and had some stops when we needed them.”
On J.J. Moore’s Impact Late in the Game: “We want to be accountable for defense and I thought that he allowed his man to drive middle too many times early in the game. I thought he took some shots that weren’t in the offense and wasn’t taking rhythm jump shots. You could say it was selfish [play] if you want to be adamant about it, but it was that type of play from him. I thought that we needed some other guys that could play the right way and Malick [Kone] did a tremendous job for us in that role. When we needed a shot, obviously you’ve got to put your guy in that’s going to make you a shot, and [Moore.] did.”
On Battling Through Adversity: “One of our special keys tonight and every night that we put on the white board is ‘poise through adversity.’ We were dealing with some adversity out there. We weren’t playing well, we had low energy, we weren’t making plays, and we were missing layups and free throws. We allowed them to shoot above 50 percent until the last couple minutes when we got it under 50. It was not a good night for us, not a good night. Basketball, over the years, you’re going to have games like this. You don’t like them, you’re not happy about it but you’re happy about the win.”
On Pulling Out the Win: “No doubt [it feels better to win]. The ‘W’ feels a lot better than the ‘L.’ But you’ve got to give Yale a lot of credit. They run their stuff, they’ve got good size –it seems like every team we play their guards are head and shoulders above our guards and that’s what we have to deal with. But Myles [Mack] made some good plays down the stretch. He got his hands and tied up the ball a couple times so that’s one of the advantages of being small, he finds the crevices, sneaks in behind and just has a will. Our will and determination down the stretch was our biggest plays.”
On Play of Malick Kone: “He played fearless. He defended, he rebounded very well for us, he stuck his nose in there defensively, he got some drives to the basket and made some nifty moves to the paint, and he played the way he should play. You should play free and your confidence should be soaring through the roof and that’s the way he looked tonight.”
Yale Head Coach James Jones
On the difference in the game: "We played well in a lot of areas tonight, but rebounding was not one of them. We are usually a very good rebounding team - and have been for the last two years - but today we didn't do the job."
On the final play of the game: "The design was to get the ball to the middle and we had a good shot. I talked to [Nick Victor] after the game and told him he had time to come down with it, get some contact and go to the line. We had a chance there, but came up short."
On positives for Yale: "We led the game for most of the way, executing offensively pretty well. We were able to limit the turnovers too. That's what you want to do playing on the road."
On foul shooting: "We usually shoot 20-25 foul shots per game, so this was nothing different. I though the game had a pretty good flow tonight."
Rutgers senior forward J.J. Moore
On his late 3-pointer to take the lead: “I just felt win. A lot of coaches just go for the two to try to get the momentum up, but I just felt like going for the win. I took my chances and it ended up going in, so I’m proud of that and happy for the team.”
On if the team needed the spark of his 3-pointer at that moment: “Definitely. In the game, I didn’t shoot too well. I didn’t play too well. Towards the end, my team told me, ‘Just keep shooting. You’re a shooter. Just keep doing what you do and keep shooting.’ That’s what I did, knocked down the first three and that put us down by three. Then, the steal, it was crucial. When I got the bench (my team) said, ‘See? You see what I’m talking about? Just keep shooting. You’re a shooter.’”
Rutgers redshirt senior forward Wally Judge
On the team making free throws towards the end of the game: “It was big. It just shows the growth of (Kadeem Jack) and how prepared he had been making himself in the offseason to step up.”
On RU’s defense to stop Yale on its last possession of the game: “It was tough. It was pretty much a scramble. It wasn’t really a difficult scheme to match, it was just don’t let anybody catch the ball and if they do, make it a tough shot.”