Rutgers Drops Second Straight in Cancun

Rutgers will not look to come back to Cancun anytime soon. A day after a rough loss to Illinois State, the Scarlet Knights dropped another close contest, 58-53, to Richmond in similar fashion.

In what is becoming a game-by-game trend, the Rutgers basketball team got off to a brutal start tonight against Richmond, but slowly dug itself out of the whole with tough defense.

And just like last night in the Cancun Challenge, one big run was not enough for Rutgers to come out with a win, falling 58-53 to Richmond.

This time, the big run came to start the second half. Trailing by eight points and by as many as 15 in the first half, the Scarlet Knights made it a one-point game with a 10-3 run before the Spiders bounced back. On a 16-6 run of their own, the Spiders systematically sent the Scarlet Knights back to New Jersey with a second straight loss.

"Three games in four days with a young-minded team, you're going to have some ups and downs," said head coach Mike Rice on WCTC's post-game radio show. "What I loved in the first half where they really could have quit, it's just we need more … Right now we're only playing with five or six. We're playing 10, but we're only really playing with five or six."

Rutgers has had some bad starts to games this season, but nothing compares to the first 10 minutes of tonight's game.

While shooting 10 percent from the floor, Rutgers fell behind 17-2 to the Spiders to start the game before rallying to cut the score at the half. Rutgers finished the first half trailing by just eight points after shooting 7-for-12 from the floor after the initial drought.

Sophomore guard Austin Carroll hit all three of his shots in the first half and finished with nine points on 4-of-6 shooting. Sophomores Gilvydas Biruta and Mike Poole led the team with a combined 21 points.

A day after Rice called for more out of Dane Miller, the junior forward had little impact. Miller took just one shot and committed four fouls.

"I'd like some things from people who I think are good teammates and who will do anything for their teammates to want to win," Rice said. "I have other guys who are maybe worried about their shots not falling or the minutes played or this and that. We have to straighten that out."

Rutgers has five days off to regroup from two shaky performances and Cancun, returning home to host UMBC and LSU next week.

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