Changes Coming after St. John's Loss

Speaking on the Big East basketball conference call, Rutgers coach Mike Rice is looking to make some changes after dropping back-to-back games for the first time this season. Following a 1-for-14 shooting night for leading scorer Eli Carter, Rice discussed what needs to change before the toughest three-game stretch of the season.

Rutgers coach Mike Rice does not fault the shot selection of sophomore guard Elijah Carter, but said changes are coming after a 1-for-14 night against St. John's and a second consecutive loss. The road does not get easier for Rutgers, traveling to Connecticut Sunday, and Rice hopes to get his leading scorer back on track.

Carter could return to the bench against UConn, where he averages more than 20 points per game.

"It helped him," Rice said on benching Carter earlier this season. "We'll look at every aspect, including how hard we're working in practice. That's a big key with me and, again, being comfortable. I think our guys are a little too comfortable, whether it's the rotation, their minutes, their shot selection. Sometimes you have to wake them up. The bench and playing time and shot attempts is one of those ways."

Carter continues to lead Rutgers in scoring this season, but his scoring average dipped to 15.6 points per game after his 1-for-14 night. Carter was a combined 4-for-28 in two games against St. John's this year and no-showed his post-game media obligations after the loss to St John's.

"It's just something in his young career and as the leading scorer, he's got to swallow, you have to take it but you have to forget it," Rice said. "And it was not even [just] him. It was Myles [Mack] and some of our other guys. Those things, I guess, happen and how you respond to them is the big question mark."

As ugly as Carter's stat line looked after the loss, Rice said it was not an accurate indicator of his performance. Missing 13 shots, selection was not the issue despite Carter heading to the bench for the final four minutes of action.

"I think Eli, out of 14 shots, took one-and-a-half bad shots and that's pretty good for a scorer to be honest," Rice said. "They have to create. Sometimes the defense does a good job and it turns out to be a bad shot. As far as last night, when I watched it, I wanted to really dislike what I saw with Eli because of his shooting percentage but I didn't. He attacked the rim. He attacked the basket. He played within the framework of the offense, but now don't let it affect his energy and his communication."

With a road game against Connecticut up next, the Huskies are well aware of Carter's struggles.

"We know Eli Carter's body of work speaks for itself," said UConn head coach Kevin Ollie. "… We know the type of player he is. He played us last year and our guards definitely know who he is after they just really took it to us last year down at the RAC. We know who he is. I've seen a lot of tape of him. ... They're going to devise a plan to get him going and we're going to see his best effort. I truly believe that."

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