Rutgers Hits the Road

Kadeem Jack

Rutgers faces Cincinnati in its first American Athletic Conference road game Saturday evening, and does it without guard Jerome Seagears. Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan plans to stick with a big lineup, with rebounding as a key to victory against the Bearcats.

When it comes to banging bodies with a team like Cincinnati, size matters. Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan is well aware of that need Saturday and plans to stick with his big starting lineup because of it.

Cincinnati out-rebounds its opponents by more than six per game, which is a strength Rutgers aims to attack at 6 p.m. on Saturday when tipping off against the Bearcats.

"Focus on that during the game," said junior forward Kadeem Jack, who averages 14.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. "Seeing as that's one of their specialties, we have to make sure that we focus on that and try to take that away."

Rutgers (7-8, 1-1) will go with its "big" look for the third straight game, which features Jack and senior Wally Judge in the post, freshman Junior Etou on the wing and J.J. Moore and Myles Mack at guard.

Rutgers is 2-1 since the starting lineup change, including the win over Temple in the AAC opener.

"It helps a lot when we've got two wings that can come down and also rebound," said Jack on a bigger lineup.

Etou's emergence is the biggest factor in allow the lineup change for Jordan. Following a six-game suspension from the NCAA to start the year, it was a slow beginning for Etou, who took his biggest step forward against Temple.

Etou hit the game-winning three-point-play against the Owls, and will be a starter the rest of the year, Jordan said.

"He's quiet but he is tough as nails," Jordan said. "He backs down from no one. If he has to start a little fire out there on his own, he'll start a little fire to see where his opponent is at. We love that about him."

Averaging 5.1 points and 4.9 boards per game, Etou's shooting percentage is up significantly and his fouls are down since becoming a starter.

"It's a lot of adjustment — a lot," Jordan said. "It took a toll on him early like it would on any caring student-athlete. He's getting a feel for what's expected of him, so he's starting to feel a little more comfortable."

Etou declined multiple interview requests before and after his Rutgers enrollment.

Junior guard Jerome Seagears (ankle) will travel to Cincinnati, but is unlikely to play after re-aggravating his injury during practice.

"We're going to be extra cautious with him," Jordan said. "We thought it was really bad going into the Louisville game, but he was able to play and did a good job. But he re-aggravated it in practice. We have to be patient with him."

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