Miller leads Rutgers past Colgate. 76-67

Rutgers freshman Dane Miller scored a career-high 15 points as the Scarlet Knights kept Colgate winless with a 76-67 win. The 6-foot-7 Miller is combining his athleticism with an ability to learn Rutgers' system, but how good can he be? Scarlet Knights sophomore guard Mike Rosario has some ideas, as does coach Fred Hill.

A month ago Dane Miller was lost on defensive rotations and didn't understand the offensive philosophies, but his athleticism was off the charts.

Quite frankly, his natural ability was why he was playing.

Now, with Miller's understanding catching up to his athleticism, he is proving to be the player who has developed the most in the first three weeks of the season.

The 6-foot-7 freshman came off the bench to notch career-highs of 15 points and eight rebounds as the Scarlet Knights rebounded from a poor first half to keep Colgate winless with a 76-67 victory in front 4,226 Sunday at the Rutgers Athletic Center.

Miller, who started the second half and played 19 of the 20 minutes, made 6 of 11 shots from the field. He also blocked three shots.

"I think Dane keeps growing and growing,'' Rutgers coach Fred Hill said. "He's got a lot of talent, which you can see. You know what I marvel at? Four weeks ago he was a young man that had an awful lot of talent, but wasn't really ready to step on the floor and understand all our concepts -- defensively, offensively.

"He came in, almost religiously every day, to watch film. He pays attention. He's got a very good basketball IQ.''

Rutgers (5-2) was led in scoring by center Greg Echenique, who scored 19 points and had eight rebounds.

Sophomore guard Mike Rosario was held out of the starting lineup because of a bruised right shin, and overcame a poor shooting display (2 of 8) to finish with 14 points, thanks to hitting 9 of 12 free throws.

However, a lethargic beginning in which Rutgers actually trailed Colgate (0-8) 35-30 at the half led to the insertion of Rosario, who played 24 minutes

"We would have liked to hold him out of the whole game, but I told him to be ready if we needed him we would play him,'' Hill said. "Obviously, we were much better with him on the floor.''

With Echenique and Rosario both scoring consistently, Miller is the latest to show flashes of being the third scorer Rutgers needs.

It was the third successive impressive game by Miller, who scored nine points against Florida, and had five points and seven rebounds in the win against Princeton.

The difference?

"Patience,'' Miller said. "The first three games I was rushing stuff. I was trying to make every play, and then I realized this isn't high school. I have to know what my role is.'' It is a role being expanded.

Although he is coming off the bench, Miller played markedly more minutes than starter Patrick Jackson, who was on the court for 12 minutes. In fact, Miller has played more minutes than Jackson in each of the last five games.

"He doesn't realize what he can do,'' Rosario said. "He can help us a lot with rebounding. We can be a really good offensive rebounding team because he loves to get on the boards, and that is something we need.

"As far as his length size and athleticism, it helps us even more. He's faster with the ball. He can drive it, sometimes he can knock it down from the outside.''

Miller scored in a variety of ways against the Raiders.

He hit jumpers, scored in transition and also attacked the basket. But with the good came the not so good, including a couple of rushed shots and ill-advised passes, followed by a look to the sky. "He's like the underdog on our team. Nobody really knows about him,'' Rosario said. "I tell him every day, ‘Dane, you have a talent a lot of kids don't have.' "He's not really mature yet in getting into the college life and realizing this is a business, and he goes back to his little high school moments and he has a turnover and puts his hands up. I tell him to forget about it and go onto the next play.''

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