PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Junior guard Jerome Seagears (Silver Spring, Md.) scored 15 points and dished-out a career-high nine assists to help Rutgers (3-1) to a 66-51 victory over Canisius (1-2) Monday evening in NIT Season Tip-Off action at the Rutgers Athletic Center. The Scarlet Knights advance to play Drexel (2-1) Tuesday evening at 7:30 at the RAC for the opportunity to advance to Madison Square Garden to compete in the Tip-Off Championship round on Nov. 27 and 29.
Redshirt junior forward Kadeem Jack (Queens, N.Y.) and senior forward Wally Judge (Washington, D.C.) both had double-doubles for RU. Jack had 13 points and 11 rebounds, while Judge scored 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting and grabbed 12 boards.
Junior guard D’Von Campbell (Arlington, Texas) also reached double digits for the home squad. He made 4-of-8 field goals off the bench to contribute 10 points.
Both teams shot under 40 percent, but the Scarlet Knights were buoyed by a 50-37 rebounding advantage in a contest that featured seven lead changes and four ties. Junior forward Malick Kone (Conakry, Guinea) aided the effort, snagging seven rebounds, including six off the offensive glass.
After a sluggish opening half, Rutgers entered the locker room at the midpoint facing a 28-26 deficit, but bounced back significantly after the break. RU tied it twice early in the second half and trailed 33-31 before an 8-0 run gave the home squad the lead for good.
The Scarlet Knights opened-up a 44-36 advantage with 10:57 left on a Campbell three-pointer before Canisius got to within four, 51-47, with 5:40 remaining. Rutgers responded with a 12-0 run as Judge and Jack scored four points each, and both had consecutive slam dunks before Seagears two free throws made it 63-47 with 1:29 remaining.
The Scarlet Knights established a pair of 16-point advantages in the final 1:30 to earn the convincing victory.
Tomorrow evening’s game versus the Dragons will tip-off at 7:30 and will be televised live via the web on ESPN3.
- RU took a 35-33 lead on a Malick Kone jumper with 16:17 remaining and maintained the advantage for the remainder.
- Four RU players scored in double figures for the fourth time this season.
- Junior guard Jerome Seagears led RU with 15 points. It marked the fourth time in his career that he led the team in scoring.
- Jack scored 13 points, the fourth time this season and ninth of his career that he was in double-digits. He had a double-double with 11 rebounds, his third double-double of his career.
- The two players with double-doubles marks the first time for RU since Jack (30p, 10r) and senior J.J. Moore (17p, 11r) each had a double-double vs. Florida A&M (Nov. 8).
- Seagears tallied a season-high 15 points. By the end of the first half, Seagears had tied his season-high for points in a game with nine.
- The 15 points for Seagears mark the 17th time in his career that he has scored in double-figures.
- Seagears set a career high with nine assists. He had previously notched seven twice, with the last time coming vs. USF on Jan. 17, 2013.
- Seagears’ nine assists matched junior Myles Mack’s nine assists from the game at UAB (Nov. 11). The nine assists are the most since Marquis Webb posted 11 on Jan. 24, 2005.
- Redshirt senior forward Wally Judge finished the game with a season-high 12 rebounds. His previous best was eight at UAB (Nov. 11). He has now recorded six double-digit rebound games in his career.
- Judge has now led the team in rebounding a team-best 14 times in his career.
- Judge also posted 11 points, notching his sixth career double-double and 20th game with 10 or more points.
- Junior guard D’Von Campbell tied his season-high with 10 points in the game. He also scored 10 vs. Florida A&M in the season opener on Nov. 8.
- Campbell notched his first career block in the contest.
- Junior Malick Kone notched seven rebounds in the contest, one shy of his career-high of eight.
- Junior forward Kadeem Jack posted six first-half rebounds, tying his most rebounds in a half this season. He also grabbed six in each half of the Florida A&M season-opener (Nov. 8).
- Jack has recorded at least one block in all four games this season. He swatted two vs. Canisius.
- Seagears scored the first Rutgers points of the game. Four different players have registered the first points for RU through four games – Seagears, 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 fourth consecutive game.
Rutgers Head Coach Eddie Jordan
Opening Statement - "It wasn't pretty offensively, both teams struggled to score. We had some good looks in the first half but they didn't go in, paint attempts. But our defense was good, especially after the second part of the first half and then really, really good the second half. Our rebounding was solid and we executed the game plan in certain areas, especially on [Billy] Baron in the second half. We were slow against the zone, we made some adjustments, ran some more pick-and-rolls against the zone, suggested our guys penetrate the zone by the dribble and pass, have the bigs shoot up in the gaps, so that helped us against the zone. But the story of the night was Jerome Seagears, who was really, really good even though Baron got some makes in the first half, he just locked in, executed the game plan in the way we suggested he play him and it was really good. I'm happy with our bigs, everyone played well. D’Von Campbell came off the bench, made some huge shots for us, made some good plays and we got some rebounds over the top, but we also got some loose balls down low. We just dug down, our smalls got in there and got some loose balls, one heck of a blocked shot by one of our small guards [Campbell]. It was a lot of good, grunge type of plays that helped us win.”
On Jerome Seagears’ strong play - "You should have seen me the next practice [after the Yale game], but he responded. That's what big-time players do, mature players."
On the second half - "Defensively I thought it was good, that's what we envisioned. That we can be big, protect the rim, be scrappy in the paint, even with our small guards. Offensively, we came around, made some plays, but for the most part offensively it wasn't something I was excited about, but it came around. There were stretches when we were good, we found the spots, we made our penetration, we scored at the rim, made some threes which was good, but we weren't consistent enough. It's coming. This is a new team. We're trying to learn a new system -- it doesn't happen overnight. I'm patient with it."
On advancing to the Garden - "I just want to win the tap tomorrow night. That's my vision. It's possession by possession and I don't want to look ahead. We know what the carrot is, we know where it is. We don't want to mis-step, going to our destination. We got to go out, we watched this team today, Drexel, they're big, they're athletic, they attack, they've got good shooters, good play-makers and they have good players,so we have to get ready for them."