Rutgers 61, Miami 45

After just three games, it appears Mike Rice’s philosophy of

team play and hard-nosed defense has made an impact on Rutgers.

The Scarlet Knights displayed both on Sunday, as Jonathan

Mitchell had 12 points and seven rebounds and Dane Miller scored

all 11 of his points in the second half in a 61-45 win over

Miami.

”I preach everyday teamwork and being there for your

teammate,” Rice said. ”Being a good teammate isn’t applauding and

giving up part of your sub sandwich. It’s about jumping to the

ball, details, boxing out, setting your man up. The little

things.

”Today, you saw a very good performance of how to be a good

teammate. That’s what I’m most proud of about this win. I told them

to be happy but to get used to this. This is the new Rutgers. We’re

going to do this night in and night out.”

Rutgers (2-1) held Miami to 29-percent shooting (14 of 48) while

getting 11 steals and forcing 17 turnovers. The 45 points were 36

below the Hurricanes’ season average entering play Sunday and it

was the lowest amount the Scarlet Knights have allowed to an ACC

team since a 50-45 win over Maryland on Feb. 19, 1941.

Miami’s backcourt duo of Durand Scott and Malcolm Grant entered

the game averaging a combined 30 points but were limited to eight

as Durand had five and Grant three. Neither scored in the second

half and they shot 3 for 15 (20 percent) combined.

”Our backcourt was not good,” Miami coach Frank Haith said.

”Guard play wins games and we didn’t play very well. Those guys

are important to our success. When they don’t play well it puts a

lot of pressure on us offensively.”

Rutgers guard Mike Coburn, who had eight points, six assists and

four steals, said his team did not do anything special.

”We just played our normal defense and did things we normally

do,” Coburn said. ”We know what they like to do well, and if the

defender on the ball gets beat, the next person has to be there to

help them.”

Austin Johnson added nine points for the Scarlet Knights, who

defeated the Hurricanes (2-2) for the third time in the last four

games. It was the first meeting between the two since 2004, before

Miami left the Big East for the ACC.

The Hurricanes got 12 points and 14 rebounds from Reggie

Johnson, who was their lone offensive spark after intermission.

After a back-and-forth first half, Rutgers used a 14-5 run early

in the second to open a 40-29 advantage. The lead held steady

between nine and 11 over the next 10 minutes. Holding a 52-43 edge

with 3:09 left, Rutgers scored nine straight to open its largest

lead at 61-43 with 1:08 remaining.

”I wasn’t really expecting a run (by Miami) with the way we

play defense,” Miller said. ”Miami looked like they were

confused. Coach Rice kept switching up defenses – he’d call out one

defense and we’d switch to another and they’d get all mixed

up.”

After having a 22-game regular-season winning streak against

nonconference opponents snapped by Memphis on Monday, the

Hurricanes have lost two of their last three to nonconference

foes.

”I thought we looked sluggish,” Haith said. ”We didn’t play

with any balance, with any enthusiasm. Give Rutgers credit, they

played very hard and with a purpose.”