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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, December 11, 7:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The RAC (8,000) -- Piscataway, New Jersey. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Princeton 4-0, Rutgers 4-4. Away Record: Princeton 2-1, Rutgers 0-2. Neutral Record: Princeton 0-0, Rutgers 0-0. Conference Record: Princeton 0-0, Rutgers 0-0. Series Record: Princeton leads, 74-44.
GAME NOTES: A historic rivalry will be renewed on Wednesday as the Rutgers Scarlet Knights take on the Princeton Tigers in a battle of non-conference teams from the Garden State.
The start to this season has been a good one for Princeton. The Tigers enter play sporting a 6-1 mark, while riding a five-game win streak after a 77-55 blasting of Fairleigh Dickinson. The only loss on the ledger was a 70-67 setback on the road against Butler. Princeton is also on the road this Saturday against Penn State.
Right now the Scarlet Knights are searching for answers as a 77-71 loss to Seton Hall at home on Sunday was their third straight loss and fifth in the last six games. After opening the year 3-1, Rutgers has dropped to just 4-6, despite playing eight of its 10 games at home. This contest continues a six- game homestand that takes Rutgers into the new year.
In last year's edition of this rivalry game the Scarlet Knights pulled out a 58-52 victory. Princeton had won the previous two matchups and still holds a commanding, 74-44 advantage in the all-time series.
Last time out the Tigers had no trouble with the Knights, posting a 22-point rout by outscoring them 33-9 from beyond the arc, while holding a 43-28 advantage on the glass.
Princeton is a team that really spreads the workload around. There are five different players that are averaging in double figures for the Tigers, who net 71.3 points per game on 45.2 percent shooting as a team. T.J. Bray (13.7 ppg, 5 rpg, 5 apg) missed some time earlier this season but has been strong in multiple categories in the three games he has played in. Bray is expected to play on Wednesday after missing the game against Fairleigh Dickinson. Even when Bray is sidelined the Tigers have plenty of options. One such player is Denton Koon (12.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg), who has spent the bulk of the season coming off the bench, but worked his way into the starting lineup last Saturday and scored a team-high 18 points.
Despite outscoring Seton Hall in points off turnovers (25-11), the Scarlet Knights just didn't have enough to topple the Pirates. Myles Mack scored 20 points on 7-of-15 shooting, but the Scarlet Knights only knocked down 38.7 percent of their field-goal attempts overall.
Mack has begun to find his rhythm again. Mack (15.5 ppg, 3.6 apg) has scored at least 20 points in three of last four games and has hit at least 46 percent of his shots in those three contests. Prior to the recent stretch Mack, who led the Big East in field-goal percentage for a guard last year, had hit less than 40 percent from the field in four of six contests. Less encouraging has been the decline of Kadeem Jack (14.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg), who is averaging 10.7 points and just 4.3 rebounds over the last three tilts. Other major contributors include J.J. Moore (13.1 ppg), who has been shifted to a reserve role recently, and Jerome Seagears (11.1 ppg, 4.5 apg), who runs the point.
The Tigers have not been afraid to face teams on the road, with a 2-1 record away from home. Mack is getting back his touch and the Scarlet Knights have talent, but expect this game to be a close one that ends with a Princeton victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Princeton 74, Rutgers 71
12/11 10:34:06 ET