Game Preview: Providence at Rutgers

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Lineup changes are coming for Rutgers with coach Mike Rice hunting ways to keep his guards fresh for the final stretch of the season. Facing Providence tonight in the penultimate home game of 2013, Dane Miller will be a key part of the solution.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – When senior forward Dane Miller takes the ball up the court tonight for Rutgers, there is no need to panic. With Elijah Carter out, coach Mike Rice said changes are coming to keep his team fresh.

Sophomores Jerome Seagears and Myles Mack have seen their minutes spike as the only capable point guards left available and Rice vowed to find ways to keep their minutes down.

"I can't play them 35, 37 minutes," Rice said. "Jerome [and] how hard he plays, how emotional, it's not like he saves his energy out there. He's always barking. He's always competing, so I have to do a better job of finding him time. … I thought the two were playing well off each other, playing part, but it's up to the coaching staff to find times to sit them so they're ready to finish games off."

Miller practiced as a point forward yesterday and will see some time in that role against Providence. The senior has always been a pass-first player, leading Rutgers with 64 assists this season, but he has minimal experience running the offense.

"He has a great IQ," Mack said. "He's like a point forward. I trust him at the position. I think he'll do pretty well."

When the minutes inevitably climb, however, Mack and Seagears feel ready to outlast their opponents.

Mack put up the two best scoring performances of his career since Carter went down and will need to continue his passionate play against Providence, which sports one of the top guard tandems in the Big East.

"I'm just playing my game, not even thinking about it," Mack said. "… I've been running lately, and in the weight room staying fit. I think I'll be able to [play 40 minutes]."

Rutgers (13-12, 4-10) did not receive the boost it wanted after snapping a losing streak against Seton Hall. Following the victory with back-to-back road losses, the return home tonight at 9 p.m. will be against one of the best Providence teams in years.

The Friars (14-12, 6-8) are led by guard Vincent Council, who recently set the Big East assists record and leads his team with 10 points and seven assists per game.

Fellow guard Bryce Cotton is tops in the conference with his 20 points per game.

"We have to be on our A-game and then some," Seagears said. "Providence is a great team coming here."


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