Rutgers continues to tweak offense without Eli Carter in preparation for Providence

By Matt Sugam

PISCATAWAY – After Eli Carter went down against DePaul on Saturday, Mike Rice was given the news he hoped he wasn’t going to hear. His leading scorer was out for the season.

With just one full day to prepare for Villanova, the Scarlet Knights had to scramble to adjust their game plan. Now they’ve had nearly a week to prepare for Providence and tweak their offense.

“Now we can start to understand what we have to do,” Rice said. “I’ve said it all along, we need more balance.”

Which means utilizing the front court more. A big change from guard the heavy offense dominated by Carter and Myles Mack.

“We need Austin [Johnson] and Wally [Judge] to give us more balance. Part of that though is trusting them and giving them the ball more,” Rice said, adding, “we got to get some execution plays and get it to the paint and that’s one of my focuses against Providence. Get it in the paint and either draw fouls or make buckets.”

Something the bigs have been focusing on this week.

“Everybody has been harping on trying to get post touches and running the floor hard if you’re a big and getting post positioning,” Johnson said. “So we’ve definitely been harping more on that. We just have to go out and implement it in the game.”

Another facet Rice would like to implement in the game is giving his two remaining gaurds in Mack and Jerome Seagears a little less run. He knows they continue to play 35 to 40 minutes a game.

“I have to do a better job of finding them times, maybe before the TV timeouts, whatever it may be to give him more minutes,” Rice said. “But I thought the two were playing well off each other, playing hard. It’s up to the coaching staff to find times to sit them so they’re ready to finish games off.”

One way to do that is to use Dane Miller to bring up the ball. Something Rice talked about a couple weeks ago to get the senior wing more involved offensively, and now may have to do it out of necessity a couple possessions a game.

“He has a great IQ. He’s like a point forward so I trust him at the point guard position,” Mack said. “So I think he can do pretty well there.”

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