LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Rutgers (10-16, 4-9) received double-figure scoring nights from junior forward Kadeem Jack (Queens, N.Y.) and junior guard Myles Mack (Paterson, N.J.), but fell to No. 13/8 Louisville (21-4, 10-2), 102-54, at the KFC Yum! Center on Sunday night.
Rutgers was paced by Jack and Mack, who posted 10 points apiece. Junior guard Malick Kone (Conakry, Guinea) grabbed a team-high six rebounds.
Louisville came out of the gates with an early 6-0 lead. Mack got RU on the board with a jumper, but the Cardinals extended their advantge to 8-2 with a transition jumper by Chris Jones at the 17:30 mark.
UofL extended its lead to 10-2, before Mack drained a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 11-5 with 15:53 to go in the first. The Cardinals pushed their advantage to double-figures at 19-8 with 11:59 on the clock.
The Scarlet Knights would cut the lead to 10 (20-10), but wouldn’t get any closer in the half as the Cardinals took a 43-24 advanatge into the break. Jack paced RU with eight points and four rebounds in the opening stanza.
Louisville started the second half on a 26-3 run, extending to the 12:59 mark when sophomore guard Kerwin Okoro (Bronx, N.Y.) scored for RU to make the score 69-29. Jack followed that up with two free throws on Rutgers’ next possession to make it 69-31 with 12:17 to go.
Despite a career-high nine points from Okoro in the second half, the Scarlet Knights couldn’t close the gap.
Rutgers is next in action at The RAC, taking on No. 20/22 Memphis on Thursday (Feb. 20) at 7 p.m. The game is scheduled to be broadcast live on the CBS Sports Network. The first 1,000 fans receive an Eddie Jordan bobblehead.
• Sophomore guard Kerwin Okoro scored a career-high nine points. His previous best was four vs. Alabama A&M (Nov. 12, 2012) as a member of Iowa State.
• Okoro recorded a career-high three made field goals. His previous best was two vs. Alabama A&M (Nov. 12, 2012) as a member of Iowa State.
• Okoro tied his career high with two made free throws. He also did it at Memphis (Feb. 4, 2014).
• Okoro notched his first career assist.
• Junior guard Malick Kone made a career-high six free throws. His previous best was three, which he did three times, the last coming vs. Houston (Feb. 1, 2014).
• Junior forward Kadeem Jack scored a team-high 10 points. It marks his team-high 22nd double-digit scoring game of the season and 27th of his career.
• Junior guard Myles Mack scored a team-high 10 points, his 21st double-digit scoring game of the season and 59th of his career.
• With 10 points, Mack moved into 26th all-time on RU’s career scoring list with 1,141 points. He passed Don Parsons (1946-50), who had 1,140.
• Redshirt sophomore Stephen Zurich played a career high six minutes.
• Zurich notched his first career assist.
• Jack had one dunk in the first half, his team-high 21st of the season.
• Senior J.J. Moore had a dunk in the first half, his 13th of the season.
• 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 11th time this season.
• RU moved to 1-13 all-time against Louisville.
Rutgers Head Coach Eddie Jordan
Opening statement: “Give credit to Louisville. They have a great attack. Defensively, they change up their pressure; half court, full court, different ways they run at you, different ways they zone you up, different ways they attack you. I told our team going in, it’s not so much about us defending them, It’s how we have to handle all their multiple action defensively. We just didn’t do that well enough.”
On if there was a shift in effort in this game compared to the SMU game: “It’s one loss. Our guys have to believe that. This loss cannot devastate you. You still have a goal in mind that’s reachable. Hopefully we can play well enough to reach sixth place in the league and earn that bye in the first round of the tournament. Don’t get devastated by the numbers on the scoreboard. It’s just one loss. Let’s bounce back. We’ve got a heck of a game coming up on Thursday against Memphis.”
On what allowed Louisville’s Luke Hancock to reach a career-high: “He made shots and we weren’t on him. Simple as that.”
On how much of the game is coming into this building and Louisville having a good start and if it snowballs at that point: “It did, sort of, but when you can’t answer back, their confidence and their mojo is at a high. The jump shots for them and the three on the break, their confidence was riding high and we didn’t get back and match up well enough. When we were in our zone, we didn’t find Hancock well enough. I’ve got to do a better job of getting our guys to get out on shooters and to play better defense.”
On what the team can fix before Memphis comes in: “We just have to play with a lot of confidence, stay together, trust in our offense. Again, they’re (Memphis) going to pressure, they’re going to give it to you, they’re going to body you up and they’ll be physical like they were down there. We have to answer the bell, physically, intelligently, and we have to make plays.”
On Kerwin Okoro’s game: “Kerwin did some good things out there and I’m happy about that. We will see going down the line. It’s a credit to him that he came in and gave a lot of effort:”