Rutgers defeats Miami 61-45
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP)—After just three games, it appears Mike Rice’s philosophy of team play and hard-nosed defense has made an impact on Rutgers.
The Scarlet Knights displayed both on Sunday, as Jonathan Mitchell had 12 points and seven rebounds and Dane Miller scored all 11 of his points in the second half in a 61-45 win over Miami.
“I preach everyday teamwork and being there for your teammate,” Rice said. “Being a good teammate isn’t applauding and giving up part of your sub sandwich. It’s about jumping to the ball, details, boxing out, setting your man up. The little things.
“Today, you saw a very good performance of how to be a good teammate. That’s what I’m most proud of about this win. I told them to be happy but to get used to this. This is the new Rutgers. We’re going to do this night in and night out.”
Rutgers (2-1) held Miami to 29-percent shooting (14 of 48) while getting 11 steals and forcing 17 turnovers. The 45 points were 36 below the Hurricanes’ season average entering play Sunday and it was the lowest amount the Scarlet Knights have allowed to an ACC team since a 50-45 win over Maryland on Feb. 19, 1941.
Miami’s backcourt duo of Durand Scott and Malcolm Grant entered the game averaging a combined 30 points but were limited to eight as Durand had five and Grant three. Neither scored in the second half and they shot 3 for 15 (20 percent) combined.
“Our backcourt was not good,” Miami coach Frank Haith said. “Guard play wins games and we didn’t play very well. Those guys are important to our success. When they don’t play well it puts a lot of pressure on us offensively.”
Rutgers guard Mike Coburn, who had eight points, six assists and four steals, said his team did not do anything special.
“We just played our normal defense and did things we normally do,” Coburn said. “We know what they like to do well, and if the defender on the ball gets beat, the next person has to be there to help them.”
Austin Johnson added nine points for the Scarlet Knights, who defeated the Hurricanes (2-2) for the third time in the last four games. It was the first meeting between the two since 2004, before Miami left the Big East for the ACC.
The Hurricanes got 12 points and 14 rebounds from Reggie Johnson, who was their lone offensive spark after intermission.
After a back-and-forth first half, Rutgers used a 14-5 run early in the second to open a 40-29 advantage. The lead held steady between nine and 11 over the next 10 minutes. Holding a 52-43 edge with 3:09 left, Rutgers scored nine straight to open its largest lead at 61-43 with 1:08 remaining.
“I wasn’t really expecting a run (by Miami) with the way we play defense,” Miller said. “Miami looked like they were confused. Coach Rice kept switching up defenses—he’d call out one defense and we’d switch to another and they’d get all mixed up.”
After having a 22-game regular-season winning streak against nonconference opponents snapped by Memphis on Monday, the Hurricanes have lost two of their last three to nonconference foes.
“I thought we looked sluggish,” Haith said. “We didn’t play with any balance, with any enthusiasm. Give Rutgers credit, they played very hard and with a purpose.”