PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Though two days too late to save face after an ugly opener, Rutgers basketball came to life against Sacred Heart. Desperately needing to right the ship after Friday’s loss, the Scarlet Knights looked like a Big East team in its domination of the Pioneers.
Rutgers rode impressive individual performances from Elijah Carter and Wally Judge to an 88-62 victory, which evened out its 2012-13 record at .500.
Head coach Mike Rice sent messages to Carter and Jerome Seagars by benching them in favor of Myles Mack and Austin Johnson. Though similarly rotating players to Friday, the changes proved successful in a smooth victory.
“I didn’t tell them [about the lineup changes], I just put them out there,” he said. “I wasn’t in a chit-chatting type of mood. … Wally and Austin maybe deserved to start, but other than that it wasn’t exactly [anybody].”
Judge continued to struggle with early fouls, but recorded his second straight double-double. Judge logged 11 points and 10 boards in the victory and displayed his athletic ability on a series of impressive dunks. Carter led all scorers with 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting, rebounding from an ugly first game.
“Very good shots,” Rice said of Carter. “…I thought he would bounce back. He’s a good, strong-willed, tough player and he doesn’t like not starting. I’ll give you that.”
SHU hung around early, but a torrid 33-6 run midway through the half all but put the team away for the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers received 10 points from Carter during the run and held Sacred Heart to 27 percent shooting in the half.
“I just wanted to play better,” Carter said. “I was terrible [on Friday]. I just wanted to come out and make some shots.”
Rice continued his 11-man rotation during the game, but saw better performances across the board.
Junior Vincent Garrett scored his first career bucket on an offensive rebound in the second half, while Mack and senior Dane Miller scored 14 points apiece.
Rutgers (1-1) has four days off before traveling to one of its toughest non-conference games on the schedule – Princeton.