PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Junior guard Myles Mack (Paterson, N.J.) drained a three-pointer from the top of the arc with three seconds remaining to help Rutgers (6-7) to a thrilling 75-72 win over Army (3-7) Sunday afternoon at the RAC. Mack scored all of RU’s six points in the final minute en route to a team-high 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting as the Scarlet Knights captured their second consecutive victory.
Sixteen of Mack’s points came in the second half in a game that featured 10 ties and 19 lead changes. He augmented his performance by making all five of his attempts at the charity stripe, while dishing out seven assists.
Senior forward Wally Judge (Washington, D.C) also had a standout performance for the Scarlet Knights, shooting 7-of-10 to post 16 points with seven rebounds. Junior guard D’Von Campbell (Arlington, Texas) joined Mack and Judge in double figures, making 5-of-7 field goal attempts to contribute 12 points.
Rutgers out-rebounded Army by a 41-34 margin and established a 42-30 advantage in points scored in the paint. Freshman forward Junior Etou (Republic of Congo), who made his first career start, grabbed a game and career-best 11 rebounds to spark the defensive effort. Redshirt junior forward Kadeem Jack (Queens, N.Y.) issued four blocks.
Army jumped-out to an 8-0 lead, but the Scarlet Knights battled back before the break. RU entered the locker room at the midpoint with a 35-33 lead after Mack went coast to coast for a lay-up at the buzzer.
The second half was a see-saw affair that had 16 lead changes and six ties. Neither team led by more than four points in the final 20 minutes.
Kyle Wilson had a career-high 29 points for the Black Knights, including a three-pointer to tie the game at 72-72 with 34 seconds left before Mack answered. Josh Herbeck added 12 points and Tanner Plomb had 11 for Army, which lost for the first time in three games.
Rutgers returns to the hardwood on New Year’s Day, hosting Temple in an 8 p.m. tip-off at the RAC in the American Athletic Conference opener. The game will be televised live on ESPNU.
- Rutgers improved to 8-16 all-time against Army and has won six of the last seven, including five straight. The previous meeting was in 1978.
- Junior guard Myles Mack scored a team-high 18 points, his 10th double-digit game of the season and 48th of his career.
- Redshirt senior forward Wally Judge finished with 16 points, his sixth double-digit game of the season and 24th of his career.
- Mack finished with seven assists, his fourth time with five or more this season.
- Sophomore forward Greg Lewis tied his career-high with six points in the game. He also did it this season at UAB (Nov. 11).
- Redshirt senior forward Wally Judge posted two dunks in the game, giving him seven on the season. That is good for second best on the team.
- Freshman forward Junior Etou made his first career start.
- Etou finished with a career-high with 11 rebounds. His previous best was eight vs. Stillman on Nov. 25.
- Etou played a career-high 29 minutes in the contest. His previous high was 24 vs. FDU (Nov. 26).
- Junior forward Kadeem Jack tied his season-high with four blocks in the game, giving him a team-high 19 this season. He has 13 multi-block games in his career.
- Junior guard D’Von Campbell scored 12 points in the game, his sixth double-digit scoring performance of the season and eighth of his career.
- Eddie Jordan went with the starting lineup of forward Junior Etou, forward Wally Judge, forward Kadeem Jack, guard Myles Mack and guard J.J. Moore for the first time.
Rutgers Head Coach Eddie Jordan
Opening Statement: "Obviously the game came down to what basketball is about. You’ve got to get a stop, a rebound and you have to make a play, and in a microcosm way to look at it, that's what happened. We got a stop, got a rebound and Myles made a big play, big shot. Again, it was a struggle for us to stay out of three but we made some adjustments, in the last maybe three-and-a-half, four minutes, a lot of us stayed out in the three so that helped us too."
On Myles Mack's game-winning play/shot: "It was a play we put in yesterday, give it to Myles and get out of the way. There is a call, we did talk about, we put in about three isolation plays yesterday in practice and that was one of them, but obviously Myles was the catalyst in recognizing it and timing it and making a big shot. We were just talking; I was just so glad that they didn't deny him."
On the play of Wally Judge: "He certainly wanted to enjoy his Christmas because we didn't enjoy Thanksgiving after losing the way we did and going into that break. Wally, again it was some emphasis in picking towards their centers, really being aggressive on their centers. Their centers are the hub of their offense, in a sense. They are reading the cuts, they're the release guys, they run pick-and-rolls, they slip, they pop, so we wanted to really put pressure on the focal point of their offense.
On the significance of going into conference play with a two-game winning streak: “I don’t know, we’ll have to see come January 1. To me, it’s history. You won the game, move on. Now this game, winning this game isn't going to help us make a shot in the next game. I don’t think it will help us defend. It’s just improvement in every area that we have to do, whether we lost or won tonight. We’ve just got to move on and you can’t hang your head on this one and say ‘Look, we’re going to hang our head on this one, we’re in the driver’s seat against Temple and Louisville.’ No, it doesn't work that way.”
Rutgers Junior Guard Myles Mack
On the game-winning 3-pointer: “Coach just told us to run ‘open.’ I saw how much time was left on the clock, so I waited until it was seven or some seconds and I lulled him to sleep and I just pulled up and it went in.”
On what was going through his mind when he saw it go through the hoop with three seconds left: “I was like, ‘Yes, but there are still three seconds left so we still have to play D.’ I just want to thank my teammates for trusting me to take that shot at the end.”
On if he was surprised Army gave him that much room at the end: “Yeah, because (the defender) probably thought I was going to try to go by him. So, I read his feet when I hesitated and he moved back, so I just shot a great pull-up.”
On what this does for the team going into conference play: “It’s great. It gives us the momentum. The first game is Temple, and we’re just trying to go out there and give it our best.”
Army Head Coach Zach Spiker
Opening statement: "I've got to give Rutgers a lot of credit. They are a very mature team and play with a lot of physicality. They were able to pick up a couple offensive rebounds after missed free throws and also hit some big shots down the stretch."
On the team's play: "We want to continue to progress as the season goes on and I though we played to our standards more than we have in any game this year. However, it is disappointing when it doesn't come in a win."
On adversity on the road: "We handled some adversity today, but I have to give Rutgers credit. They made big plays down the stretch."
On the last shot: "I thought we executed that play well. We have a group of guys who know what they're doing on the court, knew the play call. Kyle Wilson got a good look at the basket under those circumstances. I thought they might foul there, but we had the guy we wanted taking that shot."