PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Senior forward J.J. Moore (Brentwood, N.Y.) scored a career-high 27 points and junior guard Myles Mack (Paterson, N.J.) contributed 25 points and six assists to help Rutgers (9-13, 3-6) to a convincing 93-70 victory over Houston (11-11, 3-6) Saturday at The RAC. The Scarlet Knights never trailed in the contest and led by as many as 25 points in the win.
Moore was 11-of-17 from the field while securing five rebounds in the impressive performance. Redshirt junior forward Kadeem Jack (Queens, N.Y.) and junior guard Jerome Seagears (Silver Springs, Md.) joined Moore and Mack in double figures with 16 and 11 points, respectively. Jack shot an efficient 5-of-7 to go along with six rebounds and four blocks, both team- highs.
Rutgers shot 52.5 percent overall (31-of-59) and 41.2 percent from behind the arc (7-17). From the charity stripe, the Scarlet Knights converted 24-of-31 attempts, good for 77.4 percent. Mack was 10-of-11 from the line.
Behind the early play of Moore, Rutgers started the game strong; jumping out to a 16-8 lead in the opening minutes. Moore drained two three-pointers and converted on a coast-to-coast, one-handed dunk through a host of Cougar defenders during the opening scoring run.
Rutgers limited the Cougars to just 39 percent shooting during the first half, as Houston shot just 13-of-33 from the floor. The Cougars finished the game shooting 42 percent on field goal attempts.
Houston diminished its deficit to seven in the first half, but Rutgers controlled throughout, taking a 46-31 lead into the locker room. Moore produced 17 of his game-high 27 points in the first half, while Mack contributed 15 points before the midpoint.
Rutgers stretched its lead to 24 points in the second half when Moore threw down a two-handed dunk to give the Scarlet Knights an 86-61 lead with 4:38 left to play. Rutgers’ 93 points in the win were the most scored by one team in any AAC game this season.
The Scarlet Knights return to the hardwood on Tuesday (Feb. 4) at No. 22/22 Memphis. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. and the contest will be televised live on The CBS Sports Network.
- RU’s 93 points were the most by an AAC team in a conference game this season. The previous high was 91, which Louisville scored vs. Houston on Jan. 16.
- The 93 points were the most for RU in a league game since scoring 95 vs. No. 9 Notre Dame on March 1, 2003.
- The 93-70 win for RU was the largest margin of victory in a conference game since the team downed Pittsburgh on the road, 62-39, on Jan. 11, 2012.
- The 23 points was the largest home margin of victory in a conference game since an 85-52 win over Virginia Tech on Feb. 15, 2004.
- Rutgers improved to 8-5 this season when four or more plays score in double figures.
- Rutgers won by 23 points, its second-largest win of the season. RU downed Stillman College, 116-89, on Nov. 25, 2013.
- RU led 46-31 at the half, its second-largest halftime lead of the season. The Scarlet Knights led UNCG, 52-33, at the half on Dec. 14, 2013.
- Senior guard J.J. Moore (27 points) and junior guard Myles Mack (25 points) each scored over 20 points. It’s the first time RU had two players with 20 or more points since Mack (26) and Jerome Seagears (23) did it at George Washington on Dec. 4, 2013.
- Moore scored a career-high 27 points, his 14th double-digit scoring game this season and 37th of his career.
- Moore’s previous high was 26 points, which he did vs. FDU (Nov. 26, 2013).
- Moore has now scored 20 or more points three times this season and five times his career.
- Moore made a career-high with 11 field goals.
- Moore scored 17 first-half points, his best half of the season. His previous best was 14 vs. FDU on Nov. 26.
- Moore had four dunks in the game. He is third on the team with 10 this season.
- Mack scored 25 points, his 56th double-digit scoring game of his career and 18th this season. He now has 14 career games with 20 or more points, including seven this season.
- Junior forward Kadeem Jack posted four blocks in the contest, his seventh multi-block game of the season and 15th of his career.
- Now with 68 career blocks, Jack moves into 19th on RU’s all-time list. He passed Adrian Hill (2002-07), who had 65, and trails Byron Joynes (2003-07), who had 69.
- Jack scored 16 points, his 18th double-figure scoring game this season and 23rd of his career.
- Jack had two dunks, giving him a team-high 17 this season.
- Junior guard Jerome Seagears scored 11 points, his seventh double-digit scoring game this season and 23rd of his career.
- Rutgers improved to 1-2 all-time against Houston.
- Eddie Jordan went with the starting lineup of forward Junior Etou, forward Kadeem Jack, guard Myles Mack, guard J.J. Moore and guard Jerome Seagears for the first time this season.
- Coach Eddie Jordan was one of nearly 100 men’s basketball coaches throughout the country that wore the “Autism Speaks” blue puzzle piece pin on his suit jacket today. Towson’s Pat Skerry and Marshall’s Tom Herrion, each who have sons on the autism spectrum, have started a nationwide campaign to raise awareness about this disease.
Rutgers Head Coach Eddie Jordan
Opening statement: “I’ll just take questions. Everybody saw it was a pretty good performance by most of our guys. I thought J.J. Moore was a catalyst. Kadeem playing center was good for us and we just had the juice. We had it the whole game and even though we had a little cushion coming out of halftime we stayed with it. We didn’t have a big letdown. So it was an exciting game for everybody to watch.”
On what J.J. Moore did to create energy in the game: “It looks like he just has a comfort zone. Again, I say this a lot, it’s a new team and probably, I just saw him being comfortable out there and it takes time for a guy playing one year with a new team with new players to have a comfort level. I think with Jerome [Seagears] and Myles [Mack] at guard, it gave him sort of freedom to take his forward position and run with it and that’s what he did. He did a lot of good things, driving the ball, catch and shoot, pull-ups, getting on the fast break, even pushing the ball two times on the fast break and his athleticism showed out tonight. It was really exciting.”
On sustaining productivity despite being in foul trouble in the second half: “Again, guys off the bench played pretty well. I think Craig [Brown] was aggressive. It’s not pretty, but he was aggressive going to the basket. Malick [Kone] did a good job playing guard and forward. Greg [Lewis] did a tremendous job at center. He was spent out there. He’s got two more years to play, so he’s still a young pup. Guys just played well and we locked in defensively.
On the difference between their first meeting with Houston versus today’s game: “I’m not a stat guy. Even scores, you guys write the stat stuff. I look at personality, how we behave, our enthusiasm, teamwork, how we get along. I look at that and today we did all that. Our behavior was good. We didn’t have any finger pointing or disgruntled players or guys holding their heads. It was a lot team work and enthusiasm out there and that’s what I look at and our personality was really good for 40 minutes.”
On defending the turnover: “Again, we have two guards who can help each other and can help everyone on the floor. We did some pressing, that was good for us and I told my team ‘This team just flew in from Houston and I know what flying in can do for you and in the second half, let’s make them feel those jetlag legs’. I thought we got after it a little bit more.”
Houston Head Coach James Dickey
Opening statement: "We didn't defend very well tonight and they shot the ball well. Coach (Eddie) Jordan did a great job of having his team prepared. They played with great confidence, moved the ball and shared the ball well. I thought Rutgers played with a lot of confidence offensively and we didn't defend very well, especially in transition."
On differences from first meeting: "I thought we defended better and obviously shot the ball better at home. I thought we were able defend their shooters last time, but today they had four players in double figures. (J.J.) Moore had a really big game tonight."
On Rutgers: "Eddie (Jordan) is going to do a great job here. It takes awhile to build a program, as fans can get too impatient. He is a tremendous coach with a great mind. Eddie loves this school which next year is going to a different league. I thought the fans here we terrific and I believe Eddie will do a wonderful job as coach."