The Rutgers men’s basketball team is going up against Temple on Friday in the Basketball Hall of Fame Showcase at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The Scarlet Knights (3-0, 0-0) are coming into this game undefeated after a 73-65 win over UMass Lowell on Saturday.
Rutgers cruised comfortably through its first two games before running into the River Hawks (2-1, 0-0), who kept the game close all the way to the finish. The Knights were able to keep their composure and fend off the upset behind 22 points and 15 rebounds from junior center Clifford Omoruyi.
“This has been a great opportunity," Simpson said. "My teammates have been there helping me out a lot, especially (senior guard Paul Mulcahy). He's been a great influence and has taught me a lot. He told me to get my teammates involved, and I know that's extremely important."
Not everything went perfectly for Rutgers though, as Mulcahy left the game early with a re-aggravated shoulder injury after running into a screen. Mulcahy participated in pre-second-half warmups and sat on the bench for the second half but did not return to the game.
On the other hand, the Owls (1-1, 0-0) have had an up-and-down start to the season. The program started the season with a 76-73 loss to Wagner but immediately rebounded with an upset 68-64 win over then-No. 16 Villanova.
Temple boasts a lot of star power and point production behind the likes of Damian Dunn and Khalif Battle. The Knights will need to focus a lot of their attention on shutting Battle and Dunn down as they have combined for an average of 44 points per game through their first two games of the young season. Dunn averages 25.5 points per game (PPG) while Battle averages 18.5 PPG.
Rutgers may have to gameplan defensively without the program's Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year from a season ago, fifth-year senior guard Caleb McConnell, who has not played up to this point of the season as he battles a knee injury.
The game will tip off from Mohegan Sun at 5 p.m. and will be broadcasted on ESPNU and 88.7 WRSU-FM.
“Everybody is working together and we want to keep getting better and we want to keep winning," Omoruyi said. "Our goal is to make the NCAA Tournament and to do that we have to continue to play as a team."
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