PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Rutgers (11-18, 5-11) returns to the rugged road of the American Athletic Conference to meet No. 19/19 UConn (23-6, 11-5) in a 7 p.m. tip-off on Wednesday (March 5) at 10,167-seat Gampel Pavilion. It will mark the final scheduled, regular season match-up between the longtime conference foes and the last regular season road game for RU. The Scarlet Knights will be working to earn back-to-back victories, while the Huskies will be looking to earn their third straight win. Rutgers closes the regular season with a pair of top 20-ranked foes, also meeting No. 15/15 Cincinnati at the RAC on Saturday. RU’s last victory over a ranked opponent was a 67-62 win over No. 24 Pittsburgh on Jan. 5, 2013, while the last road victory over a ranked foe was a 77-64 win at No. 13 Pitt on Jan. 26, 2008.
Eddie Jordan and Kevin Ollie are two of seven current collegiate head coaches who played in the NBA and are now mentoring at their alma mater.
The game will be televised live nationally in high definition on ESPNU with Jason Benetti calling the action and Tim Welsh 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. WRSU (88.7 FM) will also broadcast the game.
Wednesday evening’s contest marks the 51st meeting between the Scarlet Knights and Huskies dating back to 1952, with UConn holding a 36-14 advantage in victories. Rutgers is 3-19 all-time on the road in the series, including 2-14 in Storrs and 1-5 in Hartford. The last time RU won at UConn was an a 84-77 triple overtime on Jan. 8, 1977 in Hartford, as senior point guard Eddie Jordan scored 14 points in the victory. The last RU win in Storrs was an 86-72 victory on Dec. 9, 1972, with then head coach and current RU radio analyst Dick Lloyd at the helm assisted by current ESPN analyst Dick Vitale. The Huskies have won the last two meetings. The last Rutgers victory over UConn was 67-60 decision over the No. 12-ranked Huskies at the RAC on Jan. 7, 2012. Rutgers has defeated nationally-ranked UConn teams twice in its history, also downing the No. 17-ranked Huskies 61-53 at the RAC on Jan. 30, 2002.
As a player at Rutgers, Jordan was 4-1 against the Huskies. He averaged 14.8 points-per-game in those contests, including scoring 21 in a 96-83 home win and 18 in a 93-79 NCAA Tournament win during the 1975-76 Final Four season.
Rutgers is coming off a 74-73 home win over USF on Saturday, which provided RU a season sweep of the Bulls. Junior forward Kadeem Jack (Queens, N.Y.) hit the go-ahead shot in the lane with 11.1 seconds to play to help Rutgers overcome a 15-point, second-half deficit. Jack and senior guard/forward J.J. Moore (Brentwood, N.Y.) both posted 20 points. Moore also grabbed seven rebounds and was a perfect 7-of-7 at the charity stripe. The Scarlet Knights shot 20-of-22 (90.9 percent) from the free throw line and committed just four turnovers in the victory.
An all-conference candidate, Jack was named to the AAC Honor Roll on Monday. He averaged 16.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks last week, while shooting 77.8 percent from the free throw line. It marked the fourth conference honor for Jack this season, including earning the league’s inaugural Player of the Week award on Nov. 11. Jack ranks eighth in AAC in rebounding (6.9) and blocks (1.4), 10th in FG% (.497) and 11th in scoring (14.6). In conference only games, he is seventh in scoring (15.1) and rebounding (6.7), 12th in FG% (.459) and FT% (.729) and 13th in blocks (1.1).
UConn is coming off a 51-45 home win over then No. 11/12-ranked Cincinnati on Saturday. Senior guard Shabazz Napier scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. The Huskies didn’t score a field goal in the final 7:39, posting its final 10 points at the free throw line. UConn held Cincinnati to 27.1 percent (13-of-48) shooting. UConn leads the American in 3-point shooting (.389), free throw shooting (.771) and blocked shots (6.2 bpg). Napier is a finalist for the Oscar Robertson Trophy and a semifinalist for the Naismith Trophy as the nation’s top player.