Rutgers won its second straight game since Waters announced March 1 he would resign at the end of the season, beating Seton Hall 61-48 in the opening round of the Big East tournament on Wednesday night.
"We're not playing harder because he's leaving," said Quincy Douby, who led the Scarlet Knights with 18 points. We're playing hard because that's what's needed to win."
Rutgers (18-12) will play second-ranked Villanova on Thursday night. The Wildcats (23-3) earned a first-round bye.
"It's going to be a tough game," said Douby, who led the Big East in scoring at 25.1 points.
Douby scored 12 of his points in the second half and didn't make his first field goal until hitting a pull-up with 3:13 left in the first half. However he did finish with a season-high seven assists.
"The thing you see from Douby is that he can do more than just shoot the basketball," Waters said. "When he'd get the double-team, he'd find the open man."
The 10th-seeded Scarlet Knights, who have won four of their last five games, beat St. John's 82-70 on Sunday to get into the Big East tournament.
Donald Copeland provided the only offense for Seton Hall (18-11), which shot a tournament-record low 25.4 percent (15-for-59) from the field. The Pirates broke Boston College's mark of 27.3 percent against St. John's on March 6, 2002.
"It seemed like there was a lid on the basket," Seton Hall coach Louis Orr said.
Copeland matched his career high with 28 points, including six 3-pointers.
Kelly Whitney, the Pirates' second leading scorer at 15.5 points, hit his only field goal on a put-back with 9:55 left in the game. He finished with three points.
"I give Rutgers some credit," Orr said. "They tried to make Kelly uncomfortable with the doubling."
Seton Hall will have to wait until Sunday to see whether it makes the NCAA tournament. Copeland isn't concerned.
"We feel we built a strong enough resume," he said. "We finished top seven in our league and feel confident with what we accomplished in the regular season."
Anthony Farmer scored 10 of his 14 points in the first half for the Scarlet Knights.
Leading 23-19 at the break, Rutgers scored 13 of the first 15 points in the second half to take a 36-21 lead on Byron Joynes' dunk. Joynes scored six points during that surge.
Seton Hall then went on a 12-3 run, including two 3-pointers by Copeland, to close within 39-33. The Pirates could get no closer as Rutgers answered with an 11-3 surge to put the game away.
The teams got off to a slow start, shooting a combined 25 percent (13-for-52) in the first half. After combining for 10 points in the first two minutes of the game, the shooting went cold. The two teams didn't reach double figures until Copeland's 3-pointer with 6:57 left in the half gave the Pirates a 12-11 lead.
Rutgers went nearly 7:30 minutes without a field goal in the first half, but still managed to hold a four-point halftime lead.
The teams split their two regular-season meetings, with Rutgers winning at
home 82-78 on Jan. 7. The Pirates won 73-67 on Feb. 5.