Junior forward Dane Miller declared before the game that Rutgers had plenty of fight left. The Scarlet Knights showed that and more tonight in their second upset of a top-10 team in the last four games.
In an outstanding defensive effort, the Scarlet Knights picked up Big East win No. 1 tonight at the Louis Brown Athletic Center in a, 67-60, upset of No. 8 Connecticut.
"I bet you now, everybody gets on the boat," Miller said after the victory. "In practice, we came out and were just aggressive. People went at each other. Everybody was yelling at each other to do certain stuff. We just had fun with a lot of energy. I think, these last couple of practices we were actually being coached, as in taking the coaching in. In that sense, we were being coachable."
Rutgers held Connecticut to 38 percent shooting and just 60 points. Star player Jeremy Lamb scored just eight points before fouling out in 24 minutes of action.
According to the Scarlet Knights (9-7, 1-2), the defensive effort goes to the coaching.
"We knew every play that they had," said sophomore forward Gilvydas Biruta. "... We knew everything."
Freshman guard Elijah Carter continued his hot streak, leading the team with 19 points in 27 minutes before fouling out.
"These guys like the big moment and they're not afraid of the big moment," said head coach Mike Rice.
Miller, who came under fire after a poor 11-minute showing against West Virginia, responded with an energetic 31 minutes. Miller eight points and pulled down five rebounds.
"It's funny," Miller said. "After we had that win against Florida, we thought we were on the stage. We had everything ready and prepared and we were ready to make that next step. We lose those two games and come out and beat a good UConn team and now we just have to keep it up and keep the same intensity. ... The West Virginia game, I really wasn't in it mentally and I had to come out and get the win for my teammates. I owe them that at least."
No. 8 Connecticut leaves New Jersey this week with two losses after dropping one mid-week to Seton Hall. Rutgers, in its last three games against top 10 opponents, is 3-0.
"They more than earned the victory," said UConn head coach Jim Calhoun in his first game back from suspension. "They're one of the younger teams in the country, and quite frankly they beat us up."