RU Pastes Monmouth 79-56 For 5th Straight Win

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. -- Rutgers matched its road win total of a year ago with its first road win, a 79-56 defeat of Monmouth on Saturday at the MAC. It is the largest margin of victory on the road for Rutgers since 2001, and pushed their Scarlet Knights' winning streak to five games. Mike Coburn led four players in double figures with 18 points.

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – Rutgers may not play a better final eight minutes of a game all season, and because of it the Scarlet Knights cruised to their most lop-sided road win in nine years.

The defensive tenacity was splendid, Rutgers rebounded with conviction, and topped it off by scoring on the offensive end.

It all led to an 18-2 run in the final 7 minutes, 40 seconds and Rutgers went on to beat Monmouth 79-56 Saturday in front of 2,852 at the MAC for its fifth straight win, and first true road win of the season.

The Scarlet Knights (8-2) were led in scoring by Mike Coburn's 18 points. Jonathan Mitchell added 16 points and Dane Miller had 14 points, eight rebounds, five assists, two blocks and a steal.

"This team hasn't had road success, non-conference or conference, so I think this a step forward," Rutgers coach Mike Rice said. "Our plan, and the ability to follow through, was there. They persevered through some interesting times."

The last time Rutgers had a larger winning margin on the road was Dec. 5, 2001, when the Scarlet Knights beat La Salle 81-56. The Scarlet Knights' first road win (Auburn was a neutral site) matches their total of last season.

"We can't play every game at home, so there's going to be some nights were we have to steal games on the road," Mitchell said. "We did a great job of taking care of business."

Rutgers, which also scored the last 13 points and held the Hawks (4-7) scoreless for the final 6:02, pounded the boards. Rutgers held a 43-26 rebounding advantage (point guard James Beatty had nine), and snagged 16 on the offensive end.

"I feel like if I can't score with the ball in my hands, I'll try to score any way possible, getting rebounds, getting steals," Miller said. "I may look skinny, but when it comes to rebounding, I use my athleticism to go grab rebounds."

The crucial aspects of Rutgers' game-ending run were the bounce-back abilities, the defense and the ball sharing.

The Scarlet Knights built a 15-point lead, but saw it trimmed to 61-54 with eight minutes left. However, Coburn hit a 3-pointer and then scored on a floater in the lane. Miller's 3-pointer and a pair of free throws gave the Scarlet Knights a 71-56 lead with 5:21 to play.

"I thought the unselfishness of our offense, the ability to kind of move without the ball, give yourself up, search for a great shot …we did that tonight," Rice said. "Defensively, I thought we were sound. Monmouth hit shots. They played with an edge the first 30 minutes. I liked the group effort defensively."

Monmouth turned the ball over 18 times, but stayed within six points at the half by making 7 of 16 3-point shots in the first half.

However, Rutgers changed its defensive approach in the second half by closing out on the shooters with more tenacity in the second half and the Hawks were 2 of 11 on 3-point attempts after the break.


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