Any spark provided by the return of Mike Rice to Rutgers flamed out midway through the first half of a blowout loss to Syracuse. Leading midway through the first half at the Carrier Dome, Rutgers crumbled to a superior Orange team and lost, 78-53, in blowout fashion.
Any hopes of an upset died at the end of the first half when Rutgers (9-3, 0-1) surrendered an astounding 24-0 run to the Orange.
“We had energy and toughness when we were making shots and when we didn’t, we lacked that energy and toughness,” Rice said on WCTC’s post-game interview. “And you just can’t with a team like Syracuse. You have to limit their runs.”
Rutgers had no answer for Brandon Triche or Michael Carter-Williams during the run. Triche led all scorers with 25 points. Carter-Williams, the NCAA leader in assists, recorded a 12-point, 10-assist double-double.
Sophomore guard Elijah Carter carried the scoring load for Rutgers. Carter had one of his better shooting nights of the season, leading the Scarlet Knights with 19 points on 7-of-13 from the floor.
Back from a three-game suspension, Rice returned to work Saturday but his first game back brought an end to a four-game winning streak. His first home game following suspension for inappropriate behavior comes Saturday against Pittsburgh.
Orange coach Jim Boeheim picked up his 903rd career win, passing Bobby Knight for second all-time in men’s NCAA history.