NEW YORK -- A quick take on Rutgers' 67-58 win over Stony Brook on Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.
WHAT IT MEANS: Rutgers wins the first game of the annual MSG Holiday Festival, and wins its second in a row to improve to 6-5 on the season. It wasn't real pretty, but coach Mike Rice will take it. The Scarlet Knights have two more nonconference games, including a matchup with No. 13 Florida on Dec. 29, before beginning Big East play at South Florida on New Year's Day.
Stony Brook loses its second game in a row, and drops to 3-6 on the season. The Seawolves, expected to challenge for the America East title, can't be thrilled with their record. But in fairness, they've lost to two Big Ten teams and an ACC team (all on the road), and now to a Big East team at a neutral site.
THE SKINNY: The game was tight early, until Rutgers went on an 11-0 run to take a 27-14 lead with three remaining in the first half. Stony Brook was ice-cold from the perimeter, missing 18 of its first 22 shots from the field, including its first eight from 3-point range. But then the Seawolves suddenly drained three treys in the final 1:14 before intermission to cut their deficit to 31-26 heading into the locker room.
Stony Brook returned to its frozen state shooting the basketball in the second half. Rutgers could never deliver a knockout punch, but led comfortably for most of the final 20 minutes, by as many as 13 points.
BIG STARS: Freshman guard Myles Mack, who came off the bench for the first time this season, led Rutgers with 22 points, making seven of eight from the field and all six from the foul line. Sophomore forward Gilvydas Biruta chipped in 13 points. Dane Miller, coming off a 13-point, 11-rebound, 7-block effort against Monmouth on Monday, went scoreless and fouled out after 27 minutes of action.
For Stony Brook, sophomore guard Dave Coley scored 17 points, and senior guard Bryan Dougher -- the only Seawolf averaging in double figures -- added 14. Tommy Brenton had 11 points and 12 rebounds.
BIG NUMBER: Stony Brook entered today's game shooting 40.6 percent from the field, ranking them towards the bottom of Division I, No. 274. Against Rutgers, the Seawolves shot just 16-for-60 from the field (26.7 percent). Can't win shooting like that. The Scarlet Knights' defense was good, but Stony Brook missed on some open looks, too.
WHAT'S NEXT: Rutgers has one more game before Christmas, hosting NJIT this coming Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Stony Brook won't play again until Dec. 28, when it hosts Cornell.