Postgame Press Conference
PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Despite double-digit scoring efforts from seniors Myles Mack and Kadeem Jack, Rutgers (10-10, 2-5) was unable to hold off Michigan (12-7, 5-2), losing to the Wolverines, 54-50, Tuesday night at the RAC before 7,365 fans.
Mack led all scorers with 15 points while also securing a team-high eight rebounds. Jack contributed 13 points and six boards, while junior guard Bishop Daniels added nine points. RU led by as many as six points in the contest that featured six ties and 12 lead changes.
The Scarlet Knights held Michigan to just 35 percent (17-of-49) shooting from the field and forced 11 turnovers. RU also won the battle on the boards, 35-34.
Both teams traded baskets early on before Jack gave Rutgers its biggest lead of the first half, taking a steal coast-to-coast for a layup to put RU up, 11-8, at the 12:48 mark.
Mack also contributed for the Scarlet Knights early, producing another excellent first half. Mack drained two three-pointers before the midpoint, with his second score from behind the arc with 10:30 to go in the opening frame giving Rutgers a 14-12 advantage.
But scoring was limited for both teams before the midpoint, as Rutgers held Michigan to just 29 percent (8-of-28) from the field in the opening stanza. The Wolverines entered the locker room with a 24-22 lead at halftime.
Jack got things started for the Scarlet Knights in the second half, draining a three-pointer in the corner to give RU a 25-24 lead during its first possession. But the Wolverines answered with a 7-0 scoring run to make it 31-25, forcing Rutgers head coach Eddie Jordan to call an early timeout with17:11left to play.
The Scarlet Knights answered once again, this time producing an 8-3 scoring run of their own to make it 34-33 in favor of the visitors. Daniels then recaptured the advantage for Rutgers, beating the shot clock with a jump shot to put RU up 35-34 with 10:48 to go.
Rutgers continued to add to its lead by attacking the basket. With the shot clock winding down, Mack found freshman forward D.J. Foreman for a two-handed dunk at the 9:04 mark to make it 40-34 while sending the crowd into a frenzy.
Michigan was able to convert from behind the arc to get back into the game, nailing three, three-pointers during a 11-2 scoring run that put the Wolverines back up, 45-42 with 4:09 to play.
RU continued to attack the basket, But Michigan was able to hold off the Scarlet Knights down the stretch. The Wolverines had three players in double figures, including guard Derrick Walton Jr. with 12 points.
The Scarlet Knights return to the hardwood on Saturday (Jan. 24), when they travel to Penn State. Tipoff is set for 12 noon and the game will be televised live nationally on ESPNU.
- Rutgers held a 35-34 edge in rebounding, outrebounding the opponent for the fifth time in seven conference games.
- Myles Mack had a game-high 15 points and eight rebounds. The eight rebounds tied Mack's career high and signaled the first time this season and second time in his career he has led the Scarlet Knights in rebounding. The 16 points marked his 16th game this season and the 79th of his career in double figures. Mack had now led RU in scoring 11 times this season and 44 times in his career.
- Mack now has 1,522 career points. With five more points he will enter the top-ten of Rutgers' all-time leading scorers.
- Kadeem Jack had 13 points and six rebounds. It marked the 12th time this season and the 44th time in his career he has scored in double figures.
- Jack played 40 minutes for the second time this year (previously Nov. 28 vs. Vanderbilt).
- DJ Foreman tied his career-high with five rebounds.
- Bishop Daniels tied a career-high with two blocks.
- RU held the Wolverines to 34.7 percent shooting. It was the third time in conference play Rutgers held the opponent below 35 percent from the field.
- The Scarlet Knights started Myles Mack, Bishop Daniels, Junior Etou, Kadeem Jack and Greg Lewis for the fourth straight game and the sixth time this season.
Rutgers Head Coach Eddie Jordan
Opening Statement: "We didn't play well tonight. We didn't do enough things to give us a chance there at the end. When you miss free throws, miss plays and turn the ball over while giving up three-pointers, it's tough. You have to play hard and smart to play well and they made their shots and drove to the basket, so we have to guard the rim better. Offensively, we are who we are. When you start missing plays and free throws, it's going to come back and haunt you."
On Michigan's Depth (11 players saw action) - "[Michigan head coach John Beilein] has established his program. He has a nice recruiting base and he's done a great job wherever he has been at during his career. In a couple of years, we're going to be that deep and talented."
On if Losing to Michigan was a Missed Opportunity: "It's always a missed opportunity when you lose at home. When you bobble the ball out of bounds, when you don't convert at the rim and when you miss free throws, it's tough."
On Michigan Guarding Myles Mack: "Everybody focuses on Myles. Whether its man, zone, trapping him or double teaming him on pick and rolls, they try to deny him coming off of screens. He has done a wonderful job of keeping us organized. He's patient, he's not forcing things and he's got a great demeanor on the floor."
On the Play of D.J. Foreman: "He does a lot of things for us. He gave us a lot and I'm happy for him that he broke out like that. He picked up some confidence and is so quick to the basket. He got some rebounds and he's finishing better around the rim than what he had done in the past. He just has to get comfortable in these types of situations and environments."
Michigan Head Coach John Beilein
Opening statement: "I'm proud of how the team responded today. They had great preparation for this game and immediately responded from the beginning to the things were needed to change. We did have to change our game plan against Rutgers, but still had to hit some shots. No one really shot the ball well - credit either defense or poor shooting. I thought we hung in there. I think I just heard there was a scenario in the run they made when they had a really good look they missed that would have put them up nine. Then we came back and hit a three to make it a three-point game. We made some threes after that. It was a great energy boost for our guys. Depending on other games, I think there are two teams with five wins. Having five wins is a good place to be in the league."
On getting through first half: "I've been watching our guys all year, watching Spike (Albrecht) get off the court, watching Derrick (Walton Jr.) get off the court. Andrew (Dakich) had told me a couple weeks ago about burning the redshirt because he thought he could help the team. We double checked and we double checked and we double checked and he wanted to do it. We just feel there is going to be minutes now when those guys got to get off the court. There is just the normal wear and tear throughout the season. We just survived it. We were ahead at half and started the second half strong."
On playing different lineups: "Zak (Irvin) didn't help us by going out (with foul trouble). That was not the plan, but Zak goes out and tries to steal the ball with one foul. I said to him five minutes before that he could not foul. Then he goes out and fouls. We learned through all that. Sean Lonergan can be like a Spike Albrecht sometimes, not do a whole lot but get the ball to the right people. Kam (Chatman) wasn't able to practice the last two days, we knew he wasn't able to do much, but Sean knows all the positions. He is a jack of all trades."
On Derrick Walton Jr.: "He played 40 minutes the other night in a knock-down, drag-out game at Northwestern, could only practice a little bit the past couple days. He looked just fatigued. But we told him to keep shooting. I thought he was shooting not to miss instead of shooting to make. He had a look-off of a play and we directed him to shoot it. Then next time he hit a shot."
On zone defense: "We haven't played a lot of that zone. We played a lot of three-zone, but the three-zone has Caris (LeVert) as the key. We had that in and used it a little bit, but now we are using it more. It is important. We have been challenged to shoot it, they have been challenged to shoot it and I thought it was important. (Myles) Mack is an important player and we made sure to keep five guys in front of him as much as we could."
On the rotation: "The foul trouble determined we had to go with Sean (Lonergan) and Kam (Chatman) went in and got us a bucket, but I didn't like the way he was moving out there. As we have been transitioning to playing 10 guys, some guys bring some things. We had a shorten playbook and had to get through it."
On Ricky Doyle: "Yes (he is still sick). He got a foul right away and did not play well in the first half. I told him 'you don't look good, let me know right away in the second half if you don't feel good.' After three minutes he asked to come out. We have to get him through this and will be better for it. But he is going through a health issue right now that we need to solve."
On Kam Chatman's knee: "He had a severe tendinitis that the jump-shot on the knee aggravated it. So the last couple days we had him do some stretching to help him get through it."
On winning on the road: "Here is the biggest thing. There are a lot of coaches who coach big and say you can win this game. I don't know if anyone looked at any game going forward and said (that amongst the team). But now it gives credence that we can. It could be a blowout, but we have to stay together and play smart basketball."
On preparation: "When we watched film and went over the scouting report yesterday. Usually we don't ask Sean (Lonergan) about guarding but we had to. Some people are down now. It is great to see those guys rewarded because he has been great non-scholarship player the last two years, really a key one."