PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Rutgers (10-17, 4-10) returns to the rugged road of the American Athletic Conference to meet UCF (10-15, 2-12) in a 7 p.m. tip-off on Wednesday (Feb. 26) at 10,000-seat CFE Arena in Orlando. The Scarlet Knights will be working to earn their second straight road victory in the state of Florida after a 79-69 win at USF on Feb. 8. RU is currently in seventh place in the AAC standings. The top six teams secure an opening round bye in next month’s league championship. Both RU and UCF are seeking returns to the win column after tough loses of five points or less to conference foes.
The game will be televised live nationally in high definition on ESPNU with Jason Benetti calling the action and Mark Wise 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.
Wednesday evening’s contest marks the second meeting between the schools on the collegiate hardwood after Rutgers downed UCF, 85-75, at the RAC on Jan. 15. Junior guard Myles Mack (Paterson, N.J.) scored 25 points, including the 1000th-point of his career, and dished out eight assists in the victory. The Scarlet Knights led from start to finish and limited the visitors to 36 percent shooting. The Scarlet Knights made 47 percent (31-of-66) of their field goal attempts, including 45.4 percent (10-of-22) from behind the arc. The home squad’s hand was especially hot in the second half, making 54.8 percent (17-of-31) and 50 percent (6-of-12) from long range.
Rutgers is coming off a 64-59 home loss to No. 22/24 Memphis this past Thursday night. Junior forward Kadeem Jack (Queens, N.Y.) had his fifth double-double of the season, posting a game-high 22 points on 10-of-18 shooting with 10 rebounds, two blocks, two assists and two steals. Eighteen of his points were registered in the second half. Mack and junior wing Malick Kone (Conakry, Guinea) joined Jack in double figures with 10 points each. The Scarlet Knights forced 16 Memphis turnovers and out-scored the Tigers 36-28 in the paint.
Mack and Jack are both prominent among The American leaders. Mack is first in free throw percentage (.888), third in steals (1.9), sixth in assists (4.3), eighth in scoring (15.4) and 10th assist/turnover ratio (1.7). Jack is seventh in rebounding (6.9), ninth in field goal percentage (.505) and blocks (1.3) and 12th in scoring (14.5).
UCF suffered an 88-84 loss at Houston on Saturday afternoon despite establishing a 39-27 rebounding advantage over the Cougars. UH shot 58.3 percent (28-of-48) in the victory. Senior forward Tristan Spurlock scored a game-high 21 points to pace three Knights in double figures. UCF leads the AAC and ranks sixth nationally in offensive rebounding (14.56). Senior guard Isaiah Sykes is sixth in the conference in scoring (16.1) and fourth in rebounding (7.2). UCF has lost two in a row and 11 of its last 12 games.