ORLANDO, Fla. (Feb. 26, 2014) – Despite holding a 44.3 percent to 38.9 percent shooting advantage, Rutgers (10-18, 4-11) fell at UCF (11-15, 3-12), 67-65, on Wednesday night. The Scarlet Knights led for the majority of the contest, but the Knights took the lead with 42 seconds remaining and held on to earn the win.
RU was paced by 19 points from junior guard Myles Mack (Paterson, N.J.). Freshman forward Junior Etou (Republic of Congo) and redshirt junior forward Kadeem Jack (Queens, N.Y.) joined Mack in double figures with 14 and 12 points, respectively. Rutgers established a 41 to 33 rebounding advantage.
Rutgers jumped out to an early 8-0 lead at the 17:08 mark in the first, which included four points from Jack and an alley-oop dunk on a pass from Mack to senior guard/forward J.J. Moore (Brentwood, N.Y).
UCF scored the next nine points to take a 9-8 advantage with 14:13 to go in the half. RU responded, going on a 4-0 run to regain the lead, which included a drive by Mack that led to a layup in the lane at 12:44.
The Knights knotted the game at 12-12, before Moore drained a 3-pointer and Etou dropped in a layup on an assist from Moore to push RU’s advantage to 17-12 at the 10:28 mark.
After UCF tied the game at 17-17, the Scarlet Knights posted the next five points. Moore drained another 3-pointer, this time from well beyond the arc, and RU led 22-17. The Knights again responded, going on a 5-0 burst and tied the game with 6:50 to go in the opening stanza.
Later, Rutgers extended its lead to 31-24 on a 9-2 run that saw Etou sink a 3-pointer to push the lead to seven. RU received buckets from Etou and Mack in the closing minutes of the first and led 35-26 at the midpoint. Etou tallied a team-high nine first half points.
Etou came out of the break and scored the first bucket of the half, before converting the and-one opportunity to push RU’s lead to 38-26. UCF cut its deficit to 40-33, before Mack drained a 3-pointer to make it double-figures again with 16:36 remaining.
Later, Mack sunk another three and RU led 48-36 with 14:19 on the clock. UCF got the score into single digits, scoring the next three points. RU then went on a 6-0 run, which included two buckets from redshirt sophomore forward Greg Lewis (Baltimore, Md.) and one from Mack to give RU a 54-39 advantage with 9:30 to go.
UCF put together an 11-0 run, extending to 6:03 on the clock, to trim RU’s lead to 54-50. Mack responded for Rutgers, coming through with a clutch 3-pointer give the Scarlet Knights a 57-50 buffer with 5:17 to go.
The Knights cut the lead to three, 61-58, with 2:38 remaining. After two free throws from Jack, UCF scored the next six points and took its first advantage since 14:13 in the first half, 64-63, with 42 seconds to go. The Knights held on, securing the win.
Rutgers is back in action this Saturday (March 1) at The RAC, taking on USF at noon. The game will be broadcast live on ESPNews.
- Freshman Junior Etou tied his career high with 14 points and six made field goals. He had previously scored 14 points on two separate occasions.
- Etou had his fifth double-digit scoring game of the season.
- With 19 points, junior Myles Mack moved into 23rd all-time on RU’s career scoring list with 1,170 points. He passed Tom Savage (1987-91), who had 1,166.
- Mack has now scored in double figures for the 23rd this season and 61st time in his career.
- Redshirt sophomore Greg Lewis tallied a career-high three assists. His previous best was two, which he had done twice.
- Redshirt junior Kadeem Jack scored 12 points, his 24th double-digit scoring game this season and 29th of his career.
- Senior J.J. Moore threw down an alley-oop dunk in the first half, his 14th of the season, which is second best on the team.
- Etou drew a charge in the first half, his fifth 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 12th this season.
- Rutgers moved to 1-1 all-time against UCF.
Rutgers Head Coach Eddie Jordan
On being up 15 over halfway through the second half: “Too bad they didn’t the game right there. If you’re up 15, you should win. You’ve got to play 40 minutes. I thought we played pretty well for 36. We just didn’t come up with the big baskets coming down the stretch the last four minutes and they did.”
On playing well defensively and then UCF hitting a couple 3-pointers: “Well again, they got the juice. When you hit some threes, get some daggers in there, it pumps you up a little bit. We didn’t finish some plays in the paint. The zone, I thought, maybe spooked us a little bit because they were sort of jumping out in the passing lanes and we didn’t see the gaps. When we did throw the ball in, we didn’t convert. We need to come up with big plays at the end and we just didn’t do that.”
On if this is a game he will look back on and say they should have won: “Well, we had maybe some of those maybe back in the nonconference schedule, too. This is that sort of season. We knew that it was going to be a little bit of a bumpy road. This is just one of our lumps that we had to take so we can learn how to develop the program and move forward for the program.”