By Matt Sugam
Down by as much as 10 in the first half, Rutgers overcame the deficit to beat UNC Greensboro 88-80. Sophomore guards Eli Carter (25 points) and Myles Mack (24 points) led the way. Here’s what Rutgers head coach Mike Rice had to say after the road contest:
Q: What are your thoughts on the game?
A: I think it’s a tremendous win. I think this is a good basketball team. I think Wes [Miller] has a good basketball team. He’s lost some tough games, but I love his balance, I love the moxy of his perimeter players. I think they’re going to have success this year. They’ll figure it out. They’ll figure out how to close games. What we did was defend the three better. What we did was make it more difficult in the second half and we executed. Those two things kind of brought home the game. Whether it was Myles or Eli or Wally Judge or Malick Kone, I think our execution [was better] and we’ve been working on that. Credit to our guys for having a purpose down at the end.
Q: Can you talk about your back court guys?
A: What do you think Bob Hurley won so many games for? They’re [Carter and Mack] both St. Anthony kids. They’re hard to guard. They’re difficult to guard, Myles or Eli. Even when Jerome [Seagears] scored over 2,000 points in high school. When they’re allowing the offense to give them advantages they’re difficult to handle, and they did that tonight. They allowed the offense to give them advantage. They allowed the defense to help them and they were very efficient.
Q: UNC Greensboro’s offense runs pretty much through Derrell Armstong and Trevis Simpson who pretty much went cold. How were you able to shut them down?
A: Literally whenever they got the ball we tilted the flood. And it’s kind of our defensive philosophy. In the Big East you’re always going to face a pro. Whether it’s Kemba Walker or Peyton Siva, or whoever it is and you literally have to tilt the floor – especially the guy who is setting the ball screen or setting a screen away from the ball and I thought we did a good job making them drive it into our help and we did a decent job with that. Armstrong – he’s a load. He got into our guy’s bodies in the first half. I was so disappointed. He got into our guy’s bodies and we weren’t low enough and tough enough and I thought we did a better job in the second half.