PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Junior guard Myles Mack (Paterson, N.J.) shot 8-of-16 to score 21 points, his third consecutive game with 20-plus, but it was not enough as Rutgers (4-7) dropped a 78-73 decision to Princeton (7-1) Wednesday evening at the RAC. The Scarlet Knights shot a solid 50 percent (29-of-58), while the Tigers made an impressive 16-of-34 (47.1 percent) from behind the arc to earn the victory in a game that featured 15 lead changes and seven ties.
Mack was joined in double figures by redshirt junior forward Kadeem Jack (Queens, N.Y.) and senior forward J.J. Moore (Brentwood, N.Y.). Jack shot 6-of-9 to score 14 points, his 11th straight game in double figures, while also grabbing a team-high seven rebounds. Moore was 4-of-7 to contribute 10 points.
The Scarlet Knights out-rebounded the Tigers by a 32-28 margin to establish a 36-18 advantage in the paint.
RU jumped out to a 4-0 lead before a 14-4 run provided the visitors a 17-10 advantage at the second media timeout. The home squad bounded back, as the regional foes traded baskets for the majority of the opening half. Back-to-back Greg Lewis (Baltimore, Md.) baskets gave Rutgers a 27-26 edge prior to a 6-0 burst by the Tigers. The Scarlet Knights entered the locker room at the midpoint trailing 33-31.
The opening stages of the second half were tightly contested, as neither squad established more than a three point edge. A Moore layup with 9:12 on the clock tied the score at 56-56. A 13-3 run by Princeton that featured three, three-pointers put the visitors ahead for good, however. The Tigers made 5-of-6 from the charity stripe in the final minute to secure the victory.
Four players scored in double figures for Princeton, including T.J. Bray, who had 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting. He made five of seven from behind the arc, while also dishing-out eight assists in 38 minutes.
Rutgers returns to the hardwood Saturday (Dec. 14) afternoon to host UNC-Greensboro in a 4 p.m. tip-off. The game will be televised live on the web via ESPN3. Drums of Thunder will perform at halftime.
- Junior guard Myles Mack scored 21 points, the 11th 20-plus scoring game of his career and fourth this season.
- Mack has scored 20-plus points in three-straight games for the first time in his career. Last season, he scored 28 at DePaul (Feb. 16) and 24 at Villanova (Feb. 18) in back-to-back contests.
- Mack posted three, 3-pointers on the night, his 40th game with multiple 3-pointers in his career in 74 games played.
- Junior guard/forward Craig Brown made a career high two 3-pointers. He had made one other 3-pointer this season at UAB (Nov. 11).
- Brown set a career-high with 21minutes played. His previous best was 16 in the opener vs. Florida A&M (Nov. 8).
- Brown tied his career-high with two field goals. He also made two shots from the field at UAB (Nov. 11).
- Mack tied a season-high with four rebounds. He also posted four vs. Yale (Nov. 14).
- In the second half, junior forward Kadeem Jack registered two dunks. He has a team-high 11 this season.
- Jack posted 14 points, his 11th double-digit scoring game in his last 11 games played, dating back to the contest vs. Notre Dame on March 13, 2013 of last season when he tallied 10 points.
- Senior J.J. Moore scored 10 points, his 32nd time in double figures in his career and ninth this season.
- Redshirt senior Wally Judge recorded two blocks, giving him 10 this season. He now has 12 multi-block games in his career.
- Junior guard Myles Mack scored the first points for the Scarlet Knights. Five different players have registered the first points for RU through 11 games – Seagears, Jack, Mack, Moore and Judge.
- Eddie Jordan went with the starting lineup of forward Craig Brown, guard D’Von Campbell, forward Wally Judge, forward Kadeem Jack and guard Myles Mack for the second time this season.
- Princeton holds a 75-45 overall advantage in the series. Rutgers is 27-30 at home, including 11-7 mark versus the Tigers at the RAC.
Rutgers Head Coach Eddie Jordan
Opening Statement: “It’s disappointing to lose, but we are not discouraged. I am not discouraged. Our guys fought pretty well. We carried out the game plan pretty good. When they have fours and fives that can make threes, that’s a tough coverage. That is what they did. The game plan was to take out their cuts, their roles, their inside play and then get out to the shooters. But again, that’s pretty tough when their bigs and front lines can make threes like that. There were a lot of good things out there for us. It is a work in progress for us and we are just going to keep working at it.”
On the team’s overall performance: “I was disappointed that we didn’t handle their post-up game, where they kicked it out opposite where the post-up was. We dug in too deep. We tried to make the adjustment. The game plan was to protect the paint, but we protected it too much.”
On moving forward: “You have got to stay together and you have to have some resolve. You have to be stronger teammates and keep working at it and keep working at it. I don’t know if there is any magic potion, except to work through it and keep your confidence and to have trust. It starts with me. I have to come in every day and be positive and energetic and they have to follow my lead.”
On the season overall: “It is disappointing to lose. In July and August, we said this is going to be a work in progress. We would take our lumps. It is about rebuilding. Everyone was fine in June, July and August. Now, when it is happening you have to stay positive. Keep your game plan in tact about how you are going to move forward in the season.”
Rutgers junior guard Myles Mack
On how to not get discouraged: “We’ve just got to stay focused and just try to get better every day in practice, fight through it. I think that’s all we can do is fight through.”
On if he expected the team to struggle so much to start the season: “I don’t think any team ever expects to struggle coming out of the gate. We had confidence coming out. We thought we were going to win just like every other team. We just came up on the bad side.”
On if it is easy or difficult to pinpoint what has been the issue: “We’re trying to figure that out now. I think if we figured out what it was, we would have tried to fix it by now. I think we haven’t fixed that or we’re still trying to figure out what’s going on.”
On how much credit should go to Princeton for how well it shot from three: “I give them a lot of credit. They are a whole team of great shooters. They came out shooting the ball well. They shot well in the second half. They led and it was hard for us to get back.”
Princeton Head Coach Mitch Henderson
Opening statement: "I thought it was a see-saw game and we actually never got into a rhythm on either end of the floor. I though Will Barrett made a shot when they were up four or five, a real important shot for us. That basket prevented them from getting too far away from us. At the start of the second half they just banged us with a two-by-four - about 14 points in the first four minutes. I was very pleased with how we shot they ball and I thought T.J. (Bray) was terrific tonight. For us, it was staying with what we do - staying with the plan. I'm really happy to get a win on the road.
On taking that amount of long shots: "I think we had open shots. We are a good shooting team and I don't see it as anything but open shots."
On missing early shots: "I really didn't see any panic in our guys. I thought we had some good shots, open looks. They played us and made adjustments throughout the game. We wanted to make them guard us."
On big men hitting long shots: "It opens up the floor quite a bit. When we've been good here, we've had a big man that can hit shots. We have guys that can do that for is in addition to some guards that can post up. It's great to have that balance."