The Rutgers men’s basketball team won its second game of the season against Sacred Heart University 88-50. The win marked head coach Steve Pikiell’s 100th win with the Scarlet Knights (2-0, 0-0) and the 11th consecutive sell-out crowd at Jersey Mike’s Arena on Livingston campus.
After securing the opening tip, Rutgers and the Pioneers (1-1, 0-0) were locked in a 7-7 game through 3 minutes. A timely steal from senior guard Cam Spencer led to a wide-open layup for junior forward Aundre Hyatt, who later sank a corner three to take a 12-7 lead with 16:10 to play in the first half.
The Knights would never look back after that. By the halfway point of the first half, Rutgers held a 21-10 lead over Sacred Heart. Thanks to many more baskets from names such as Spencer, Hyatt, freshman guard Derek Simpson and junior center Clifford Omoruyi, the Knights were able to take a 46-25 lead into halftime.
The Pioneers would not get close for the rest of the game, with Rutgers' largest lead being 41 points with approximately 2 minutes remaining. All in all, it was another strong early-season win for the program.
“I’m thankful (Athletics Director Pat Hobbs) gave me this opportunity, and that means I have good players,” Pikiell said when asked about his 100th career win. “These guys are good players.”
Hyatt led the way for the Knights in the scoring department with 19 points. Spencer was close behind with 18 points of his own. Omoruyi, despite facing constant Sacred Heart double and triple teams, was able to score 17 points. The junior also tied Spencer for a game-high seven rebounds. Senior guard Paul Mulcahy had 4 points and tied Spencer for a team-high six assists.
Rutgers racked up points throughout the contest and shot extremely efficiently in the process. The team shot 51.7 percent from the floor, 41.2 percent from three and 86.4 percent from the charity stripe. On the other hand, the Pioneers shot 39.6 percent, 26.3 percent and 37.5 percent, respectively.
The Knights were clicking on offense but kept their foot on the gas pedal on the defensive end. The team snatched a combined 17 steals, with the entire starting lineup recording at least two steals. Omoruyi was the anchor in the low post and contributed 3 of Rutgers’ 5 blocked shots.
The Knights will remain in Piscataway this weekend in search of their third straight win when they host UMass Lowell on Saturday. The game will tip off at 2 p.m. and will be broadcasted on Big Ten Network+ and 88.7 WRSU-FM.
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