For Rutgers, leading scorer Elijah Carter, who was not 100 percent to start the game shot 1-for-5 from the floor and scored six points, which spelled doom in Saturday's rematch with West Virginia. Falling behind early yet again, the Scarlet Knights lost 84-60 to the Mountaineers and head back to Piscataway with a 2-3 record in Big East play.
"We couldn't wake this team up in the first five minutes," said head coach Mike Rice on the WCTC postgame show. "...We had to play this game as hard as we could, it just wasn't to be."
Freshman guard Myles Mack led the team in scoring with 15 off the bench in 28 minutes.
In a positive note for the Scarlet Knights, junior forward Dane Miller recorded a second straight double-double. After coming under fire for his lackluster play against WVU 10 days ago, Miller scored 12 points, had 13 rebounds and dished out five assists.
Red-shirt freshman Kadeem Jack had his most impactful game since debuting after foot surgery. Jack played 13 minutes, scored three points and blocked two shots.
Excluding a 16-3 second-half run, Rutgers was never in control of the game.
"I don't want to see those two again," Rice said. "Whenever we made a defensive mistake, it seemed like [they] were there."
Rutgers (10-8, 2-3) has a quick opportunity to turn things around Monday night against Notre Dame. With classes beginning the next day, the 9 p.m. tip-off with the Irish at the Louis Brown Athletic Center is expected to be an energetic atmosphere.
"We'll watch some of this film to show this doesn't happen, you don't just swing and miss and decide when you want to play hard. We have to rally, ... hopefully we'll have a RAC full of students."