Mike Rice’s Big East conference call

By Matt Sugam

A day after beating St. John’s to improve to 2-1 in the Big East for just the third time in Rutgers’ program history, head coach Mike Rice spoke about the win, looking ahead to No. 21 Cincinnati on Saturday and more on the Big East conference call:

On the win at St. John’s:

“Last night was kind of like all Big East games was a grind and it was nice having seniors step forward. Dane Miller and Austin Johnson provided a big lift for us in the second half. Normally that’s what seniors do and very thankful for their efforts. This team is a work in progress, but seems to be developing and figuring out how to get out of its own way and be successful in this league.”

On their next game vs. Cincinnati:

“Looking at tape on them, a really tremendously talented team that as all teams will in a long season, hit a speed bump, but I’m sure they’ve had some days to prepare for us, but we’re very excited to get back to the RAC and trying to figure out how to grind this one out.”

Bringing team back down to earth after 2-1 start in the Big East:

“That’s something we haven’t had a lot of conversations about around here. Usually I’m building them up and keeping the energy level and the passion level up, but it really is how you handle it. How you handle success. Again, people are shaking their heads around the Big East that you’re just 2-1. Well this team hasn’t been two and one a whole lot and having two of our next game at home, how hard are you going to work to get better and improve, because everybody knows that the team that improves and gets better from day to day from the first day of Big East to the last day usually wins this league. So really going to talk and have conversations individually with each and every guy and keep them embrace coaching, embrace getting better and keep doing the same things we’ve been doing in practice. They’ve had a pretty good focus and do those type of things.”

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