HOUSTON – Junior guard Myles Mack (Paterson, N.J.) shot 6-of-10 to score 15 points, but it was not enough, as Rutgers (8-10, 2-3) dropped a 77-55 decision to Houston (11-7, 3-2) at Hofheinz Pavilion on Sunday afternoon. The Cougars compensated for RU’s 49-38 rebounding advantage by shooting 50 percent (29-of-58) to earn the victory.
Junior forward Kadeem Jack (Queens, N.Y.), joined Mack in double figures with 10 points, while also grabbing nine rebounds. Four of Jack’s rebounds came off the offensive glass, as the Scarlet Knights established a 23-6 disparity in offensive rebounds. As a result, RU had a 16-4 advantage in second chance points and out-scored the Cougars 42-34 in the paint.
Mack also had a team-best four steals, helping the Scarlet Knights to a season-high 12 thefts.
The first half started with Rutgers and Houston exchanging leads. The Scarlet Knights took a 13-12 edge at the 14:04 mark on Mack layup, giving him seven early points.
The Cougars then went on a 15-4 run, extending their lead to 27-17 with 4:03 on the clock in the opening period.
Rutgers ended the run, scoring two-straight buckets, including another Mack layup, to cut UH’s lead to 27-21 at the 3:23 mark. The Scarlet Knights would get no closer than six points for the remainder of the half, and went into the locker room at the midpoint trailing 35-28.
The Scarlet Knights came out in the second half on a 10-2 burst, including six points from Mack, and took a 38-37 lead with a Jack layup with 15:55 remaining in regulation. The Cougars responded, however, going on a 22-3 run of their own, taking a 59-41 lead with 8:44 on the clock.
RU got within 12 (59-47) with 7:00 to go, but would get no closer, as UH pulled away late.
The Cougars shot 44 percent (11-of-25) from behind the arc, while Rutgers made just 10 percent (1-of-10) from long range.
The Scarlet Knights are back in action at conference-opponent SMU on Tuesday (Jan. 210) at 8 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast live on ESPNews.
- Junior guard Myles Mack has now scored in double figures in 10 straight contests. He has 15 double-digit scoring games this season and 53 in his career.
- Mack moved into 37th on RU’s career scoring list, now holding 1,036 career points. He passed Rick Dadika (1,023) and Marquis Webb (1,026). He is now six points shy of Dane Miller, who scored 1,042 career points.
- Mack posted four steals, giving him 138 for his career. He passed Jeff Greer (1997-01) for ninth on RU’s career steals list.
- Junior forward Kadeem Jack scored 10 points. It marks the 15th time this season and 20th time of his career that he has scored in double figures.
- Sophomore guard Kerwin Okoro recorded his first career statistic as a Scarlet Knight, grabbing a rebound in the first half.
- Okoro posted a career-high four rebounds. His previous best was one with Iowa State vs. Southern on Nov. 9, 2012.
- Okoro played a career-high 17 minutes. His previous high was nine with Iowa State vs. Alabama A&M (Nov. 12, 2012).
- Okoro scored his first bucket in an RU uniform in the second half.
- Junior guard Malick Kone tied his career high with three steals in the game. He also had three at Seton Hall (March 8, 2013).
- The Scarlet Knights posted a season-high with 12 steals in the game. Their previous high was 10 (twice). It’s the team’s most since posting 13 at Seton Hall (March 8, 2013.
- Senior guard J.J. Moore recorded a dunk in the first half, his fifth of the season.
- Rutgers moved to 0-2 all-time vs. Houston.
- 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 sixth-straight game.
Rutgers Head Coach Eddie Jordan
On starting the second half well, then scoring three points in a seven and half minute stretch after that: “Our defense generated some of our offense. We got out. Myles (Mack) got some steals. Wally (Judge) was good getting stops at the rim. Kadeem (Jack) was coming over to help. We got out and we got back in the open floor. When it was time to run our half-court offense, we just didn’t do enough. Credit their defense. We didn’t have enough ball movement and enough trust in the offense to build on what we started.”
On holding a 23-6 advantage in offensive rebounds: “I think maybe some of that came late when we were just crashing in. It could have been a blessing, but yet it could have been a curse. We’re sending guys to the offensive glass and I thought (Houston) really broke it open with some open-floor layups and we didn’t get back on defense.”
On how disappointing it was to play the way they did in the second half: “We just have to execute. Before you get to the shot, you have to move the defense and set good picks and good cuts, move the ball and create some flow with your offense and we just couldn’t do enough of that.”
On the little scoring behind Mack and Jack, who were in double figures: “We just didn’t play well. We thought coming in that to win this game, everybody must play well, everyone. We were the opposite.”
On if it was a surprise how well Houston shot: “I wasn’t surprised. They moved the ball, they pushed it up. They had confidence and when you’re at home and you get a little juice going and you can sense the other team is a little discombobulated, then you feed on that and that’s what they did.”