By Matt Sugam
HARTFORD, Conn. – Rutgers (12-7, 3-5 Big East) fell to UConn (12-5, 3-3 Big East) 66-54 at the XL Center. Here’s what to take away from the game:
1. Eli off the bench
After a 1-of-14 from the field performance where he was stymied by St. John’s, Mike Rice brought his leading scorer off the bench. It’s the fifth time the Eli Carter came off the bench this season, and he averaged 20.8 points in those games. It didn’t help much today. Carter looked lackadaisical at times, missing layups he should make. He didn’t score until three minutes left in the first half and had five turnovers. While Carter finished with 11 points on 4-of-12 shooting, five of those points came with the game out of reach. Carter’s clearly in a funk and taking him off the bench didn’t get him out of it. So Rice will have to figure something else out.
2. Seagears’ scoring outburst
After struggling through the non-conference play, Seagears began to hit his stride during Big East play. However, as the point guard, it was getting others involved. Today, Seagears was putting the points on the board himself, leading all scorers with a career-high 21 points.
3. Not taking care of the rock
Rutgers turned the ball over 16 times. And they did so in a multitude of ways. From travels, to careless ball handing and bad passes, the Scarlet Knights didn’t take good care of the basketball. With only 10 assists, their assists to turnovers ratio was a putrid 0.6.
Rutgers hasn’t won at UConn since 1977, and the loss today extends that streak to 10 straight games.
“I give UConn a lot of credit. They had struggled in times to score in spurts to score and they found a way at the end to really put a the foot on the gas and really run away with it.”
“Anything happens in the last four minutes of a Big East game…We keep blinking. We keep getting in our own way and in the Big East they’re too good.”
“We’re pressing right now and we’re not playing very well. Sometimes it’s as simple as that and sometimes you just got to go and get better in practice – snap out of it.”
“I don’t worry about Eli. He just has to play better. And that’s all. Again, Eli’s good. I’m not going to get down on any of my players. I’ve seen Eli be tremendous this year. He just has to figure out – he’s pressing right now, and he just has to breath and let it come…He’ll bounce back. He’ll get back.”
”We’re very fast right now. We’re rushing. And we got to get out of it. We will, and get back to the drawing board.”
“We’ll get back. We have enough talent. We’re going to get back. And Eli’s good enough. He’s going to get back. It’s just you have to get yourself out of this rut and right now we’re in it.”
“We feel like we beat ourselves. We have to control the things that we can do to be successful on the court and we didn’t do that today.”