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Rutgers men's basketball handles Rider to get back in win column

Junior center Clifford Omoruyi and the Rutgers men's basketball team dominated in a pre-Thanksgiving win over Rider.
 – Photo by Rutgers Men’s Basketball / Twitter

The Rutgers men’s basketball team got back into the win column with a bounce-back 76-46 victory over Rider. The Scarlet Knights (4-1, 0-0) lost for the first time this season when they were defeated by Temple this past Friday but looked much better tonight against the Broncs (1-4, 0-0).

Senior guard Cam Spencer scored 8 of Rutgers’ first 14 points with two of those shots from behind the arc. At the 8:39 mark, junior center Clifford Omoruyi swatted his first of three blocks out of bounds.

Shortly after, junior forward Aundre Hyatt swiped the ball from Rider, and after a give-and-go with freshman guard Derek Simpson, Hyatt slammed it home for an alley-oop highlight. At that point, the Knights were up over the Broncs 23-11.

Rutgers took its biggest lead of the first half when Omoruyi slammed home a dunk of his own at the 2:02 mark, making the score 35-16. By the time the first-half buzzer sounded, Rider had scored 7 more points to lessen the team's deficit to 35-23.

Omoruyi opened up the second half in a strong way, scoring the Knights’ first 7 points out of the half. From the beginning of the second half up until the 7-minute mark, Rutgers went on a 31-13 run, and the momentum shifted its way toward a much-needed bounce-back win.

With the score increasing, head coach Steve Pikiell subbed in junior guard Aiden Terry who was able to score his first points as a Knight on a goaltending call, much to the delight of the crowd at Jersey Mike’s Arena on Livingston campus.

In his post-game press conference, Pikiell praised the players who stood up in the absence of fifth-year senior guard Caleb McConnell and senior guard Paul Mulcahy

"Our approach was good. We were down a couple guys, but these guys all got opportunities to play,” Pikiell said. "A lot of good play by a lot of guys, and (I) liked our play for 40 (minutes)."

Omoruyi produced yet another double-double in the blowout win, tallying a game-high 20 points and 12 rebounds for his third double-double of the season. Spencer followed close behind, scoring 19 points on 4-for-7 shooting from long range. Rutgers’ next leading scorer was junior forward Mawot Mag, who scored 9 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the win.

The Knights will be back in action on Saturday when they take on Central Connecticut State at home. The game will tip off at 3 p.m. and will be broadcasted on Big Ten Network+ and 88.7 WRSU-FM.

"These guys practiced. They didn’t like the taste of losing," Pikiell said. "We have to just keep getting better in a lot of areas, and guys got to understand ... how important every minute is at the college level. But they’re doing what they need to do, and we got to get our two guys back and healthy, and that will be a big addition to us. But these guys got to keep going."


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


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