UNC Greensboro (5-5) at Rutgers (4-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 14, 4 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The RAC (8,000) -- Piscataway, New Jersey. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: UNC Greensboro 4-2, Rutgers 4-5. Away Record: UNC Greensboro 0-1, Rutgers 0-2. Neutral Record: UNC Greensboro 1-2, Rutgers 0-0. Conference Record: UNC Greensboro 0-0, Rutgers 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Rutgers Scarlet Knights will try to end a lengthy slide when they host the UNC Greensboro Spartans in a non-conference tilt at the RAC on Saturday afternoon.
The Spartans were able to halt a losing streak of their own last time out as a 75-70 victory over Claflin put a stop to a stretch in which they had lost four games in five tries. UNC Greensboro is treading water at the .500 mark overall (5-5) and has lost its only true road test this year. Next up for the Spartans is a matchup with James Madison.
It has been a while since Rutgers last got in the win column as the team has been defeated in four straight games and six of the last seven, overall.It was Princeton that got the win over the Scarlet Knights last time out, a 78-73 decision. The losses have piled up despite Rutgers playing all but two of its games at the RAC, where they are 4-5 this season. Rutgers will play host to Army next Sunday.
This is the first time these two programs have ever been matched up on the hardwood.
Against Division II Claflin, the Spartans took advantage of their edge on the interior to claim victory. UNC Greensboro outscored Claflin 42-28 in the paint and had an identical margin on the boards (42-28). Kayel Locke netted 25 points to lead the way.
The performance from Locke was a surprising one considering he is averaging just 11.2 points per game. The Spartans usually take a more balanced approach, with four different players averaging in double figures, though they get very little off the bench. Leading the team in scoring is Kyle Cain (15.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg), who is also the top contributor on the glass. Cain filled one of those roles against Claflin as he finished with nine rebounds but only six points. Tevon Saddler (12.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.4 apg) is a player that contributes across the board. Saddler posted 10 points on 2-of-5 shooting last time out. Nicholas Paulos (10.2 ppg) is also relied upon for scoring depth.
Like UNC Greensboro, Rutgers was the more formidable interior squad when it faced Princeton. The Scarlet Knights had a 32-28 edge on the boards and doubled up the Tigers on points in the paint (36-18). However, the Scarlet Knights were torched for 16 3-pointers in the loss.
Leading scorer Myles Mack (16 ppg, 3.7 apg) continued his strong play in the losing effort, as he finished with 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting. Mack, who led the Big East in field-goal percentage for a guard last season, has had at least 20 points in four of the last five games and has knocked down 46 percent of his shots or better in each of those games. Kadeem Jack (14.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg) got back on track against Princeton as well with 14 points and seven rebounds. Jack had only 13 rebounds combined in his previous three games. J.J. Moore (13.1 ppg) is another reliable scorer for the Scarlet Knights, though he has begun to be utilized more on the second unit. Jerome Seagears (10.5 ppg) can hit a shot when need be as well.
The progression of Mack is a good sign even if the Scarlet Knights have little else going for them. If Mack continues his upward trend it might be enough this time around.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Rutgers 71, UNC Greensboro 64
12/14 10:43:14 ET