PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Junior guard Myles Mack (Paterson, N.J.) scored 17 points and classmate Kadeem Jack (Queens, N.Y.) chipped in 15 points, but it was not enough as Rutgers (10-15, 4-8) fell to No. 23 Southern Methodist (20-5, 9-3), 77-65, Friday night at the RAC.
Jack secured eight rebounds shooting 5-of-15 to lead the Scarlet Knights. It was the ninth time Jack produced 15 or more points in a game this season. Mack was 5-of-13 from the field and a perfect 4-of-4 from the charity stripe.
The contest was originally to be played Thursday, Feb. 13, but was postponed due to inclement weather.
The first half was tightly contested, with two lead changes and seven ties. Junior guard/forward Craig Brown (Miami, Fla.) knotted the game at 21-21 with 7:48 remaining courtesy of a free throw before the Mustangs went on a 16-8 scoring run, taking a 36-29 lead into the locker room.
The Scarlet Knights were paced by Jack in the first half. He led Rutgers with seven points and six rebounds at the midpoint, while freshman forward Junior Etou (Republic of Congo) shot a perfect 3-of-3 from the field to pitch in six points.
Rutgers produced a 7-0 run in the beginning of the second half thanks to senior forward Wally Judge (Washington, D.C.). He scored five points during that span, including a layup on an assist from Jack to make it just a 39-38 Mustang lead.
SMU answered with a 16-4 burst, powered by three, 3-pointers by guard Nic Moore. Moore’s third triple of the half gave the Mustangs a 55-42 advantage with 10:47 remaining. Moore led all scorers with 21 points, shooting 5-of-9 from behind the three-point line. Moore was joined in double figures for SMU by Nick Russell and Cannen Cunningham with 16 and 10 points, respectively.
The Knights got it as close as six down the stretch after a Jack foul shot with 5:11 on the clock, but the Mustangs held on for their fourth-straight victory and ninth in 10 games.
Rutgers returns to action Sunday (Feb. 16) when the Scarlet Knights travel to No.13/8 Louisville. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. Eastern and will be televised live on ESPN2. Rutgers lost to the Cardinals in a tightly contested matchup, 83-76, Jan.4 at the RAC.
- Junior guard Myles Mack scored a team-high 17 points, his 20th double-digit scoring game of the season and 58th of his career.
- With 17 points, Mack moved into 27th on RU’s all-time scoring list with 1,131 career points. He passed Jim Valvano (1964-67), who had 1,122 career points. He now trails Don Parsons (1946-50), who had 1,140.
- Mack posted two steals, giving him sole possession of seventh place on RU’s all-time list with 146. He passed Kevin Troy (1977-81), who had 144.
- Junior forward Kadeem Jack scored 15 points. It marks his team-high 21st double-digit scoring game of the season and 26th of his career.
- Jack played a career-high 37 minutes. His previous high was 35 vs. Yale on Nov. 14, 2013.
- Jack had two dunks in the second half, his team-high 20th of the season.
- Jack recorded two blocks, passing Byron Joynes (2003-07) for sole possession of 18th all-time on RU’s career list with 71.
- Jack led RU with eight rebounds. He has led the team in rebounding a team-high 13 times this season and 24 times in his career.
- Senior guard J.J. Moore posted a career-high two blocks. His previous best was one, which he did 14 times.
- Rutgers moved to 0-2 vs. SMU.
- Eddie Jordan went with the starting lineup of forward Junior Etou, forward Kadeem Jack, forward Wally Judge, guard Myles Mack, guard J.J. Moore for the 10th time this season.
Rutgers Head Coach Eddie Jordan
Opening Statement: “I really didn’t have a problem with the way we played tonight. I thought we had terrific effort, we shared the basketball, we played the game plan for the most part but there was some breakdowns, some missed assignments. But for 40 minutes we stayed together, we shared the game and we just played against a good team that’s on a good roll right now.”
On the play of SMU point guard Nic Moore: “He’s their catalyst. He’s a bulldog. He dictates the tempo, he finds his people in the paint; he’s very, very mature. He’s tough, he makes his free throws, he makes threes; he’s like the engine.”
On Wally Judge’s foul trouble: “I’m not looking to win the game right there. We’re looking to manage the game and take good shots. Missing Wally was big; he was very good for us in the paint. He got two fouls in the second half that I thought was unwarranted, but that’s the way the game is and we missed him in there with his physicality and his experience. But Kadeem, we played him more at the 5 and we got worn down, but stayed with it. We gave great effort.”
On how the extra day because of the snow storm affected the team: “You just feel ready to play. You want to play. This is college basketball. This is what you want. You want to come in here and play and you want to practice and go play one of the best teams in the country. We had three games like that, so this is where we have to test our mettle and test our mettle as far as what our personality is going to be, how we’re going to move forward with this program and they showed a good sign tonight, showed some positive signs tonight.”
On if Myles Mack and Kadeem Jack got good shots off in the game: “I saw them miss good shots and I thought that (SMU’s) length bothered us. If you have long people and people like them that contest shots, it’s going to bother them a little bit. But for the most part, we got the ball inside, we got good screening action, we got good shots and we missed them. We missed some free throws that probably could have maintained some of our momentum, but those things have to click against the best defensive team in the conference.”
SMU Head Coach Larry Brown
On being ranked on the road: "We talk about it. When you play in a good conference, you're playing against a team that played in the BIG EAST, the real BIG EAST. [Rutgers] has had some great teams come in here, I am sure they are not intimidated by anybody. We didn't handle our last experience in a game, maybe we were supposed to win, I don't mean that disrepectfully to Rutgers, but most people would think with their record and our record we were supposed to win. I never take anybody lightly, but we haven't been there before. These are our learning experiences for us. Our young kids, they really don't think that way. Some of us who haven't had a lot of success, it is a growing process. I think we responded great. I watch Rutgers and they are capable of beating anybody. Judge getting in foul trouble was tough, and Markus (Kennedy) too, that hurt both teams, but I am proud of our guys. We got a win. It wasn't an easy trip, sitting in the hotel. But we go to Philly and get to smell the gym tomorrow, then play on Sunday."
On protecting the paint: "I think we are leading the country in not giving up baskets in the paint. But Rutgers spreads you out and makes you extend. We didn't do a good job of keeping people in front of us. I think with a lot of that we got in foul trouble. We had early foul trouble the first half, and then in the second half in one possession I think we had four fouls. That makes you a little tentative. I think Eddie [Jordan] is a genius offensively, the way he spreads you out and he moves people around. If you are not on your A game defensively, you will get hurt. They will find a way to hurt you.”
On the team's transformation: "Last year, we were in Conference USA. We only had five guys really. We played zone. We didn't have the bench. Maybe I didn't use the bench, maybe that is more accurate. I knew we would be better. We had three really good transfers. We had a terrific recruiting year, but I didn't know if our record would reflect that because we were going to a whole different conference. I don't mean this in a disrespectful way, but Georgetown did it, great school, great city and a lot of good players around in a great conference. I don't see why we can't do it. I think the best player in the country coming next year, a lot of people back, and we have a lot of nice things to offer kids. I told them last year we are trying to win a national championship. I didn't know when and I don't know when that'll happen, but you might as well set your sights up. As a coach, hopefully we are realistic about where we are and we can go from there.”
On coaching SMU: "I am happy I am coaching. I am 73 years old and I am allowed to do something I love. I get to be around the kids and great coaches sitting next to me. I didn't handle retirement well. I am not ready to go to Florida. I am loving what I am doing. My son is my roommate. It doesn't get much better than that."