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Rutgers honors careers of Downes, Carter, Yeboah before Maryland game

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The Rutgers men’s basketball team arguably had its biggest win of the season Tuesday night against Maryland. The Scarlet Knights (19-11, 10-9) celebrated their huge win on Senior Night. They honored the careers of fourth-year junior guard Joey Downes, senior center Shaq Carter and co-captain graduate student forward Akwasi Yeboah. 

Junior guard Geo Baker was asked what motivated him and his team Tuesday night. 

"We stayed tough. We stayed together,” Baker said. “We locked in on our game plan. We really wanted to get this win on Senior Day for our seniors. We came together and pulled it out."

The three players honored on Tuesday have worked their way up to get to these points in their
respective careers. Downes redshirted his freshman year and has been a key piece to help change Rutgers' culture. He came to the Banks in 2016, the same year head coach Steve Pikiell did. He has been a veteran leader this season for the Knights.

Carter is one of the many bulldogs on Rutgers' roster. He is a gritty center who has started a portion of the games for the Knights this season. He spent his first two years at Eastern Florida State, grinding his way up from community college to becoming a starting center on one of the most shocking teams in college basketball. He is averaging 3.5 points and 2.4 rebounds a game, while also being a key defensive piece in many of Rutgers' big wins. 

Possibly the biggest addition to the team, Yeboah has been another leader for the Knights this season. The skilled sharpshooter has been extremely efficient this year, shooting 43.4 percent from the field. His biggest game of the year was the win against Nebraska on Jan. 25, when he put up 20 points. The England native has been nothing but a positive piece for Rutgers. 

Yeboah was asked if he was surprised about his team’s success at the Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC). 

“I always knew we would be successful. Coming out, making history here, that is what I wanted to be a part of," Yeboah said. "I wanted to be a part of history and that is what we did. It has been amazing.”

Pikiell shared his thoughts on his seniors on their big night. 

"It was jumping tonight. I'm proud of my team. This has been the toughest stretch Rutgers basketball has ever played, with ranked and quality teams. (We were) able to come away with a win on Senior Night,” Pikiell said. “I'm so happy and thankful for our seniors, senior managers, (Downes), (Yeboah), (Carter). I really appreciate our guys playing great for those guys tonight. We shared the game.”

The Knights closed out Senior Night by clinching the most wins at the RAC in school history. The 18-1 record at home is one of the best in the country and an upset win against the No. 9 Terrapins (23-7, 13-6) helps out Rutgers for its NCAA Tournament bid. The selection committee will announce on March 15 whether it made it.

For updates on the Rutgers men's basketball team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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