PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Rutgers (8-13, 2-6) returns to the friendly confines of the RAC to meet Houston (11-10, 3-5) in a 4:30 p.m. tip-off on Saturday (Feb. 1). It is a key league match-up for the teams, as they will be competing to receive a first round bye in next month’s American Athletic Conference Championship. Both the Scarlet Knights and Cougars will be seeking returns to the win column. Saturday’s promotions include Basketball Bingo and a Junior Knights autograph session from 3:15-4:15 p.m. with the Scarlet Knight. At halftime, world champion juggler Josh Horton will perform.
The game will be televised live nationally on ESPNews with Jason Benetti calling the action and Tim Welsh providing the analysis. On the radio, the contest will be broadcast live on the Rutgers IMG Sports Network, WOR 710 AM in New York and WCTC 1450 AM in New Brunswick. Chris Carlin will serve as play-by-play announcer and Dick Lloyd will provide commentary. On satellite radio, the game will be on Sirius 117 and XM 196. WRSU (88.7 FM) will also broadcast the game.
Saturday afternoon’s contest marks the third meeting between the schools on the collegiate hardwood, and the first on RU’s home floor, with the Cougars holding a 2-0 advantage. Earlier this season (Jan. 19), Rutgers dropped a 77-55 decision to Houston at Hofheinz Pavilion in a Sunday matinee. Junior guard Myles Mack (Paterson, N.J.) shot 6-of-10 to score 15 points. The Cougars compensated for RU’s 49-38 rebounding advantage by shooting 50 percent (29-of-58) to earn the victory.
The first meeting between the schools took place on Dec. 28, 1973 at the All College Tournament in Stillwater, Oklahoma, with UH defeating RU 95-84. Freshman point guard Eddie Jordan scored 11 points while future Rutgers All-American Phil Sellers poured-in 28 under first-year head coach Tom Young.
Rutgers shot a season-high 58.8 percent (10-of-17) from beyond the arc, but it was not enough as the Scarlet Knights fell at Temple, 88-82, on Wednesday night. RU trailed by as many as 20 (57-37) points in the second half and fought back to take a 75-74 lead with 2:49 remaining. The Owls were a perfect 8-of-8 at the free throw line in the final minute, however, to secure the victory. Junior forward Kadeem Jack (Queens, N.Y.) paced RU, shooting 6-of-8 to score 18 points while also grabbing eight rebounds. Freshman forward Junior Etou (Republic of Congo) was 4-of-6 from the field to tie his career-high with 14 points.
Houston, under the leadership of fourth-year head coach James Dickey, suffered an 80-43 loss at UConn on Thursday night. It marked UH’s third straight defeat. The Cougars were limited to 27.3 percent (18-of-66) shooting and were out-rebounded by a 55-40 margin. Freshman forward Danrad Knowles was the only Cougar in double figures, posting team-bests of 10 points and eight rebounds off the bench. Junior forward TaShawn Thomas leads UH in both scoring (15.8) and rebounding (8.6).