PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Dane Miller’s 1,000th career point should have iced the game for Rutgers midway in the second half, but then fate stepped in for a classic Rutgers and Seton Hall rivalry moment.
With the Pirates slowly chipping away at a 13-point lead, it took a last-minute miss by Seton Hall for Rutgers to sweat out the end of a 57-55 victory and the end of a 31-day losing streak.
Seton Hall cut the game to three points when Elijah Carter stole a pass and broke free from the pack. But instead of dribbling out the final 10 seconds, Carter went for a layup.
“I was thinking ‘no, no, no, no, no,’ … but we’ll discuss the time to score,” said head coach Mike Rice. “That’s why you do situations in practice. He shoots 94 percent [on free throws]. He’s got to just dribble the ball out. He knows that. He just apologized to the team and it’s part of growing up.”
Junior Mike Poole made up for the mistake with a steal of his own, but Seton Hall still got off a shot to potentially win the game as time expired.
“I forgot to hug Mike in the locker room,” Rice said. “I apologize Mike Poole. That’s huge. Again, it’s about … he could have gotten angry at his teammate. He could have gotten down. He could have been like the coaching staff, who were all flabbergasted.”
The win ends a six-game losing streak for Rutgers and a five-game home skid to Seton Hall.
Carter, who took just eight shots, finished with a team-high 14 from the floor. Sophomore Myles Mack scored 10 points and Miller, the 39th member of the 1,000-point club at Rutgers, scored seven.
Rutgers (13-10, 4-8) has new-found life going into the final stretch of the season. Not giving up on the postseason, the Scarlet Knights have six games left before the Big East tournament and face DePaul Saturday in Chicago.
“All we needed was one win, to taste a little bit of blood and get it out of the way,” Miller said. “Now, we’re locked in.”