Rutgers escapes with 72-71 win over Yale

The Associated Press

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) -- After missing his first four free throws of the second half, Kadeem Jack knew he needed to have a selective memory when he went to the line for his final two.

'' I just knew that I had to go to the free throw line and knock those two down,'' said the junior forward, who scored 18 points and hit both shots with 14.6 seconds left to give Rutgers a 72-71 win over Yale Thursday night. ''I definitely had to put those first four behind me because if I thought about it then I would have been lagging and probably would have missed those two also.''

''That was big,'' Wally Judge said. ''It just shows the growth of (Jack) and how prepared he had been making himself in the off-season to step up.''

Myles Mack added 17 points for Rutgers (2-1), which won for just the second time in eight meetings between the schools. Malick Kone added 12 points, five assists and five rebounds while J.J. Moore had 10 points as the Knights rallied from eight down in the final eight minutes.

The Bulldogs (1-2) got a career-high 22 points from Javier Duren, while Justin Sears had 12 points before fouling out. Armani Cotton had 11 points and Brandon Sherrod added 10.

After Jack's free throws, Rutgers forced two stoppages, the second with 2.9 seconds left. Duren inbounded from under the basket to Nick Victor in middle of the lane. Victor caught the ball in the air and put it up, but it bounced off the rim and Jack got his eighth rebound as time ran out.

''The design was to get the ball to the middle and we had a good shot,'' Yale coach James Jones said. ''I talked to (Victor) after the game and told him he had time to come down with it, get some contact and go to the line. We had a chance there, but came up short.''

Judge, who had six points and six rebounds, said Rutgers was just trying to deny everybody.

''It was tough,'' he said. ''It was pretty much a scramble. It wasn't really a difficult scheme to match, it was just, don't let anybody catch the ball and if they do, make it a tough shot.''

Yale had won six straight over the Knights, with Rutgers only win coming in the first meeting on Jan. 7, 1918.

The Bulldogs had a 37-34 lead at halftime and upped it to eight three different times, the last at 57-49. Rutgers slowly whittled it down and trailed 69-65 when Mack hit two foul shots with 40.8 seconds left.

Jerome Seagears then stole the ball off Sears just after the inbounds and passed it to Moore, who hit a 3-pointer from the right wing to give Rutgers its first lead since 31-30.

''I just felt 'win','' Moore said. ''A lot of coaches just go for the two to try to get the momentum up, but I just felt like going for the win. I took my chances and it ended up going in, so I'm proud of that and happy for the team.''

Cotton hit two foul shots to put Yale up 71-70 with 26.9 seconds left, setting the stage for Jack to redeem himself at the line, while also drawing Sears' fifth foul.

After a hot-shooting first half, Yale was 9-for-23 (39.1 percent) after intermission and finished 46.9 (23-for-49) for the game. The Bulldogs were 7-20 from 3-point range but just 2-for-10 in the second half.

Rutgers shot 43.6 percent (24-for-55) and outrebounded the Bulldogs 37-29. The Knights had 22 second-chance points thanks to 15 offensive boards.

''We started very, very poorly, non-energy, not executing,'' Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan said. ''I was very disappointed with how we started the game, but we just kept digging and in the end we worked hard to get some breaks and made some big shots and big free throws and had some stops when we needed them.''

Neither team could make a run in a first half that included 10 lead changes and nine ties, as the biggest advantage for either side was five points. Yale hung in despite Sears playing just eight minutes in the half after picking up two quick fouls.

Yale shot 53.8 percent (14-26) in the half with Jesse Pritchard going 3-for-3 on 3-pointers. Rutgers shot 39.3 percent (11-28), but the Knights stayed close by hitting 11 of 14 free throws.

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