Moving On Is Focus For Coburn and Knights

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Rutgers returned to the practice court Monday after taking a day off to recover from a devastating last-second one-point loss at Providence in which senior guard Mike Coburn missed a free throw with 1.8 seconds left. Coburn said he is trying to get past the miss because he doesn't think Rutgers can move on in the Big East tournament until the focus is off the Providence loss.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Before Mike Coburn can dream, he needs to get rid of the nightmare.

Before the senior guard can think about Rutgers winning a Big East tournament game for the first time in five years, he needs to make sure he has forgotten his missed free throw with 1.8 seconds left in Saturday's one-point loss at Providence.

And while beating a suddenly hot Seton Hall in Tuesday's first round will not be simple, getting past the memory of the missed free throw has been no easy task for Coburn.

"Since it happened, every moment, every day," Coburn said of how often he replays the miss in his mind. "I've been thinking about it. I talked to coach (Mike) Rice last night and he tried to get me past it. He was right. There were other things in the game I could have done better besides the free throw. I can play better defense so it doesn't come down to that.

"It's hard for me to grasp that …but coach Rice said I had one more night to think about it and then he put it past me because it didn't come down to that. He's right. Now, we're getting ready for Seton Hall."

The Scarlet Knights (14-16) are seeded 13th in the Big East tournament, their best standing since Gary Waters' last season, and they face 12th-seeded Seton Hall (13-17) in the second game of the Tuesday afternoon session at Madison Square Garden. Tip-off is expected to be approximately 2:15 p.m., with the winner facing fifth-seeded St. John's on Wednesday afternoon.

But before the Scarlet Knights were able to focus on the Pirates, they needed to make sure they past wasting a double-digit second-half lead in falling to the Friars in the final seconds.

"We got it past us," Rice said. "I gave them (Sunday off) because it was the toughest loss I've had in a while as a coach. As (assistant coach) Jimmy Martelli says, we have 2,400 seconds left in the season. So, we're like, ‘Every second counts now.' You have to put it past you, and hopefully we take this taste out of our mouth with a ‘W.' "

A win would signal Rutgers' first win the league tournament since 2006, when the Scarlet Knights beat Seton Hall 61-48 in the first round.

The following two years Rutgers failed to qualify for the Big East tournament, but beginning in 2009 the Big East adopted the rule each team qualifies for the tournament.

"This could be my last game," Coburn said. "To know that, I really have to give it all I've got. Coach Rice said if we really want our season to continue, we have to come out and do what we need to do to get this win."


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