STORRS, Conn. – Despite establishing a 37 to 28 rebounding advantage, Rutgers (11-19, 5-12) dropped a tightly-contested matchup at No. 19 UConn (24-6, 12-5), 69-63, on Wednesday night. Junior guard Myles Mack (Paterson, N.J.) scored a team-high 16 points and dished-out five assists.
Redshirt senior forward Wally Judge (Washington, D.C.) and senior guard J.J. Moore (Brentwood, N.Y.) joined Mack in double-figures with 13 and 11 points, respectively. Judge also grabbed 10 boards, earning a double-double. He scored 11 points in the second half alone.
UConn jumped out to an early 5-0 lead before Mack drained a 3-pointer at the 17:01 mark. The Huskies went on another 5-0 run following that, taking a 10-3 advantage with 15:50 to go in the half.
The Scarlet Knights answered, putting together an 8-0 burst of their own extending to the 12:54 mark in the half, capped by a 3-pointer from Moore. RU also received three points from junior forward Kadeem Jack (Queens, N.Y.) and a jumper from Mack in that span to take an 11-10 lead.
The Huskies regained the advantage with a three from Shabazz Napier, but Jack would tie it, 13-13, with a layup the next time down the floor. The Scarlet Knights went back ahead, 15-13, on a jumper from sophomore guard Kerwin Okoro (Bronx, N.Y.). Napier responded, converting on another 3-pointer to take a 16-15 lead with 8:45 remaining in the half.
Another Husky three ball would push their lead to 19-15. RU got back within one, 19-18, on an Okoro trey at the 5:50 mark. UConn pushed its advantage to 27-20, but Rutgers trimmed it back down to one (32-31) with 25 seconds to go in the half with the help of two, tough 3-pointers from Mack and one from Moore. Two free throws from the Huskies would give them a 34-31 edge at the break. Mack entered the locker room with 11 points.
Judge got on the board first in the second half on a nice feed from Mack, again getting within one at 34-33. Following a bucket by the Huskies, the Scarlet Knights again kept its deficit at just one, 36-35 with a jumper from Moore with 18:54 remaining.
Later in the half, RU trailed 51-44 before Judge continued what he started at the beginning of the half, scoring six-straight points for the Scarlet Knights, but UConn still led 56-50 with 11:50 to go. A 3-pointer from junior guard Jerome Seagears (Silver Spring, Md.) got Rutgers within three, 56-53, with 11:26 on the clock
UConn then went on an 8-0 run, pushing its lead to 64-53 with 6:07 to go. Rutgers fought back and would get as close as 67-63 on a Jack layup with 49 seconds remaining, but the Huskies held on for the victory.
The Scarlet Knights are back in action vs. Cincinnati at The RAC on Saturday, March 8 at noon. RU will recognize its two seniors, Judge and Moore, on in a pre-game Senior Day ceremony. The game will be broadcast live on ESPNews.
• Junior Myles Mack scored a team-high 16 points, his 24th double-digit scoring game of the season and 62nd of his career.
• Mack moved into 21st on RU’s all-time scoring list with 1,194 career points. He passed Doug Patton (1958-61), who had 1,180.
• Redshirt senior Wally Judge scored 13 points, his 10th double-digit scoring performance of the season and 28th of his career.
• Judge led RU with 10 rebounds, his third double-double of the season and eighth of his career.
• Senior J.J. Moore posted 11 points, his 16th double-digit scoring game of the season and 39th of his career.
• Sophomore Kerwin Okoro tied his career-high with one 3-pointer. He had previously done it two other times, with the most recently at Louisville on Feb. 16.
• Judge threw down two dunks, giving him 13 on 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 14th this season.
• Rutgers moved to 14-37 all-time vs. UConn.
Rutgers Head Coach Eddie Jordan
"We’re not up for moral victories. Winning is always number one. But 1-A is competitive spirit, our drive, our demeanor and how we compete. So, 1-A was there."
"They have a terrific ball team, a terrific player, terrific shooters. And for us to do everything we had to do to knock at the door to give ourselves a chance, we did, pretty much."
"We had some untimely turnovers and we didn’t make plays coming down the stretch. That was pretty much our downfall. But I’m happy about the way we had our spirit, our demeanor and our competitive nature on the floor."
On last possessions:
"You can’t turn the ball over. I would have liked for us to get some cleaner looks and execute. We still had time to move the ball a little bit. When Myles makes shots, we can hang. And he made some shots. Their defense picked up and we had to execute better. We just didn’t do that."
"This was one of our most competitive games this year. We’re not close to conceding the season. We’re fighting. And I’m happy for them."