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Rutgers men's basketball beats UMass Lowell, women's basketball goes 1-1 over weekend

The Rutgers men's and women's basketball team hosted three early season games at Jersey Mike's Arena on Livingston campus this weekend. – Photo by Rutgers W.Basketball & Rutgers Men's Basketball / Twitter

The Rutgers men’s and women’s basketball teams had a busy slate this weekend, playing a handful of home games at Jersey Mike’s Arena on Livingston campus.

Yesterday, the Scarlet Knights (3-0, 0-0) took home their third victory in a row in a 73-65 win over UMass Lowell, giving Rutgers an undefeated record early on in the season. The River Hawks (2-1, 0-0), who are the ninth-oldest team in the country, posed a difficult early-season opponent for Rutgers.

“I'm really happy. I knew this game would be difficult," said head coach Steve Pikiell after the game. "I have known (head coach Pat Duquette) for a while, his team is extremely experienced. His team has good guards and a big man who came from Pittsburgh. I told my guys we would face tremendous adversity in this game, and we did. We won the game at the free throw line and that's a great sign."

Freshman guard Derek Simpson and junior center Clifford Omoruyi both had strong afternoons. Simpson collected 16 points in the game and played a total of 34 minutes all while shooting a perfect 10-for-10 at the free throw line. The Mount Laurel, New Jersey, native stepped up in the absence of senior guard Paul Mulcahy, who left the game early after re-injuring his shoulder.

Omoruyi had his best game of the young season against UMass Lowell yesterday with a double-double of 22 points and 15 rebounds to go along with three blocks. All three of those stats were game-highs.

On the other hand, the women’s basketball team split its weekend schedule with a loss against Seton Hall on Friday then a win earlier this afternoon against NJIT.

The Scarlet Knights (2-1, 0-0) fell to the Pirates (2-0, 0-0) with a 75-57 final score at Jersey Mike’s Arena. Senior guard Awa Sidibe and junior forward Chyna Cornwell each recorded double-doubles, but Rutgers still could not come out on top. Senior center Kassondra Brown, a Saint Peter’s transfer, played her first game for the Knights on Friday and picked up the team high of 13 points. 

Rutgers led at the end of the first quarter 17-16 lead, but Seton Hall used a 28-point second quarter to take a 44-31 lead into the locker room. Scoring was slow to start in the second half, but ultimately, the Pirates were able to get on a roll, taking the game by 18 points. 

Despite the disappointment of Friday evening, the Knights were able to get a win today against the Highlanders (1-2, 0-0). Rutgers had an exciting first half, outscoring its opponent 41-25 to take a healthy lead into halftime. 

For the second game in a row, Brown had a team-high of 18 points in the game to go along with nine rebounds and a perfect 8-for-8 at the free throw line. Brown, in just two games as a Knight, has proven to be a huge asset to Rutgers.

While NJIT picked up the pace in the last quarter, the Knights were still able to come out on top, winning 87-71. 

Women’s basketball will next play on Wednesday when the team hosts North Carolina Central at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcasted on Big Ten Network+. Meanwhile, men’s basketball will be back in action this Friday against Temple in the Basketball Hall of Fame Showcase at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m. on ESPNU. Both games will also be broadcasted on 88.7 WRSU-FM.

"(Cornwell), (Brown) and (Sidibe) have done a great job our first three games getting buckets down there efficiently," said head coach Coquese Washington after her second win on the Banks. "That's something we needed to take advantage of today in the paint."

For more updates on the Rutgers men's and women's basketball teams,follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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