The Rutgers men’s basketball team lost to Penn State 66-49 in its fifth road game of the season. With the loss, the Scarlet Knights (9-6, 3-2) remain winless away from home.
The first half got off to a slow shooting start for Rutgers. After shooting a combined 64 percent from the field in the last two games, senior guards Geo Baker and Ron Harper Jr. both started the game making 1 shot in 6 attempts. The rest of the Knights did not shoot much better, resulting in a 30 percent shooting percentage in the first half.
The Nittany Lions (8-6, 3-3) led Rutgers 27-19 at the half.
The Knights made an attempt to claw back into the game in the second half when a three-pointer from Harper made it a 35-31 Penn State lead with 11:45 remaining.
Immediately after Harper's three, the Nittany Lions responded with two three-pointers and an 8-0 run to give them a double-digit lead once again. From that point forward, Rutgers did not get closer than 7 points as Penn State closed out its third conference victory of the season.
Sophomore center Clifford Omouryi finished as the team’s leading scorer and rebounder with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Baker and Harper, the program’s two leading scorers, both finished with 7 points on a combined shooting percentage of 23.8 percent. Junior guard Paul Mulcahy led with four assists.
With the defeat and Omoruyi being the leading scorer, the Knights are now 1-5 when either Baker or Harper does not lead the team in scoring. Rutgers is 7-1 when one of the two seniors does lead in scoring.
The Knights shot 33 percent for the game and just 26 percent from three-point range. This performance ends a three-game streak in which the program shot greater than 45 percent from long range. In Saturday’s win over Nebraska, the team shot a season-high 55.6 percent from three-point range.
Sam Sessoms led the Nittany Lions with a game-high 17 points and three three-pointers. Sessoms was one of four players to score in double-figures for Penn State. Greg Lee was the leading rebounder with 12 rebounds to go along with 4 points. All-Big Ten forward John Harrar finished with 16 points and six rebounds.
Rutgers will return to action on Saturday to take on Maryland. The game will tip off at 2 p.m. and will be broadcasted on the Big Ten Network and 88.7 WRSU-FM.
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