Freshman sparks offense in career game
The Rutgers men’s basketball team found itself trailing by as many as 10 points before one of its freshmen took up the first-half scoring load.
Guard Eli Carter finished a transition pass from junior wing Dane Miller, converting a foul shout and sending the Scarlet Knights into the locker room with a 3-point halftime lead.
He led the Knights in the first half of their 81-66 win against Monmouth with 15 points last night at the Louis Brown Athletic Center. Carter went on to notch a career-high 21 points in the win.
Following a timeout with less than eight minutes in the first half, Carter lifted Rutgers with back-to-back 3-pointers to bring it within 2 of the Hawks.
The former Brewster Academy (N.H.) guard is second on the team with 10.3 points per game and leads the Knights with 8.9 shot attempts per game in his first season.
He shot 4-of-5 from the field in the first 20 minutes; propelling Rutgers out of the funk it suffered offensively midway through the half.
Prior to Carter’s pair of 3-pointers, the Knights scored only 9 points in more than 12 minutes against a lowly Hawks team. Behind Carter, they finished the half with 21 points in less than eight minutes of play.
The Knights faced a pair of familiar foes last night in Monmouth’s Will Campbell and Mike Myers Keitt, who they played against in the Jersey Shore Basketball League.
Rutgers’ nine players who suited up in the Belmar summer league faced Campbell and Myers Keitt in their season opener, falling 104-85.
The Monmouth duo paired up with former Florida Gator and Christian Brothers Academy product Dan Werner in the summer league.
Senior guard Mike Kuhn also attended the Lincroft, N.J., high school.
Campbell and Carter both have southern New Jersey roots, as Campbell finished out his high school career at Paul VI while Carter played his first two seasons at Life Center Academy.
Campbell and Myers Keitt combined for 17 points on 5-for-16 shooting in the contest.
Miller led the Knights in the first half with three blocks and seven rebounds in his best defensive performance of the season. The trio of swats moved Miller to No. 11 in the Rutgers history books in the statistic.
He also registered a pair of steals and facilitated Rutgers’ transition offense.
Miller entered the matchup with a team-leading 10 blocked shots on the season. He also ranks second on the team with 5.1 rebounds per game. He often matched up against Monmouth’s Andrew Nicholas, a former Rutgers target who took 9 first-half shots.
Rutgers’ win moved it to 8-0 against Monmouth in a sparsely contested series dating back to 1984. The Knights boast a 40-3 record all time against Northeast Conference opponents. They defeated Monmouth by 23 points last season before last night’s 15-point margin of victory.
The Knights next play on Dec. 17 against Stony Brook at Madison Square Garden as part of the MSG Holiday Festival. Big East foe St. John’s takes on St. Francis (N.Y.) in the other matchup.