By Matt Sugam
PISCATAWAY – Rutgers’ losing streak was extended to five as No. 11 Louisville (19-4, 7-3 Big East) defeated Rutgers (12-9, 3-7 Big East) 68-48 at the RAC thanks to a 23-4 run to start the second half. Here’s what to take away from the game:
1. Carter starting to come out of slump
It’s been a trying couple of weeks for Eli Carter as he’s struggled from the field. In turn, so too has Rutgers on their losing streak. But after missing his first two shots to start the game – including a fast break layup – Carter got on a roll hitting three baskets in a row. He ended up going 5-of-14 on the game for a team-high 13 points.
2. Paint job
Louisville dominated the lane. Plain and simple. They nearly doubled up Rutgers in the paint, with the Cardinals scoring 26 to the Scarlet Knight’s 16. Rutgers’ bigs – Austin Johnson, Wally Judge, Kadeem Jack and Derrick Randall – combined for 16 points while Louisville’s Gorgui Deng had a block party with seven of the Cardinal’s eight blocks.
3. Full-court pressure
It’s the concern going into the game every time a team faces Lousiville. And the Cardinals showed why. Their full-court defense caused problems for Rutgers at critical junctions in the game, stymying the Scarlet Knights when the offense needed a spark.
Dane Miller’s 44 game streak of starting came to an end as he came off the bench.
“I thought it was a tale of two different halves. One was a patient, disciplined Rutgers team with resolve and a purpose. The second half, we just got too rushed and too quick again. Whether it was some missed opportunities in the paint or missed free throws, which led to their long runs and our long draughts.”
On the play of the bigs: “You have to play better. They’re not playing good enough right now.”
“The inconsistency comes from just being mentally ready. We know that we can play with anybody. We know the talent level’s there, we know the coaching is there. It’s just the mental aspect has to be there for 40 minutes.”
“It’s Louisville. Their whole team is good.”