Tonight, Mike Rice tried to send a message. When the lay-ups wouldn't fall for Rutgers, and the 3's and foul shots began to rain for West Virginia, it was apparent the wheels were going to fall off. At halftime, Rutgers was down 25 points.
So, the story then became Dane Miller and Austin Johnson.
And how they hardly played.
More after the jump...When the new starting five of the second half came out--Mike Poole, Eli Carter, Jerome Seagears, Gilvydas Biruta and Derrick Randall--they were full of energy. In less than five minutes, they ran off a 10-0 run and cut the lead to fifteen. But Carter missed a 3 in transition that would have cut it to twelve. Rice re-inserted Miller and Johnson, screaming at them to play hard.
West Virginia went on a run of its own.
Dane Miller missed a wide-open three...
And the game was essentially over.
The only bright spot offensively was Carter, who scored 19. But between the missed 3 and a flagrant foul early in the game that killed any momentum RU had, he was also the at the center of the turning points. Rutgers defense failed them, and they committed 31 personal fouls--which tied a Big East record. The defense wasn't there as WVU shot 57% from the field.
Basically, Rutgers was torched.
Mike Rice searched and searched, trying to find any combination that worked and emptied his bench. Greg Lewis and Malick Kone got extended minutes, and Kadeem Jack saw his most floor time of his career--even scoring his first basket.
Miller only logged 11 minutes, Austin Johnson 9.
Just an ugly effort tonight. With UConn coming in Saturday (Jim Calhoun's first game back from suspension) it only figures to get uglier. The Scarlet Knights need to rebound quickly.