In front of a sold-out Jersey Mike’s Arena, the Rutgers men’s basketball team dismantled Penn State 65-45 last night. The Scarlet Knights (14-6, 6-3) now sit in sole possession of second place in the Big Ten.
Seth Lundy opened up the game by drilling a three-point shot to give the Nittany Lions (13-7, 4-5) a 3-0 lead. With nearly 18 minutes left in the first half, a layup from junior center Clifford Omoruyi gave Rutgers its first lead of the game with a score of 4-3. The Knights would lead for the rest of the contest.
Rutgers physically dominated Penn State throughout the first half. Omoruyi established himself in the low post and had 12 points and two blocks in the first half. Senior guard Paul Mulcahy had success backing down defenders and had 8 points, four rebounds and two assists in the first half.
The Nittany Lions struggled to create open shots against the Knights' suffocating defense. Penn State only shot 32.1 percent from the field in the first half. Despite the offensive struggles by the Nittany Lions, Lundy had hit a bunch of tough shots, and Penn State only trailed 32-24 heading into the second half.
The second half of the game mirrored the first half with the Nittany Lions struggling to score on the offensive end and failing to stop Rutgers inside.
In the first 10 minutes of the second half, the Knights failed to put away Penn State, and Rutgers only led by 7 points with nearly 10 minutes left in the game.
That is when junior forward Aundre Hyatt hit back-to-back contested three-point shots to give the Knights a 13-point lead. On the second three-pointer, Hyatt stood at the center of the court and outstretched his arms as the crowd reached a fever pitch.
"I was thinking 'Thank gosh,'" Hyatt said on his big three-point make. "Shots were not falling in the first half, so just sticking with it and watching the ball go through the net. It was a great feeling."
Rutgers would keep its double-digit lead for the rest of the game and an 8-0 run to close out the game expanded the lead to 20 points.
Jalen Pickett had another strong game for the Nittany Lions scoring 15 points and getting eight rebounds.
For the Knights, Omoruyi finished the game with another double-double, scoring 16 points and securing 10 rebounds in total. Hyatt made a strong contribution off the bench, scoring 14 points on 6-12 shooting. Mulcahy had yet another game in which he scored 12 points, dishing out six assists and corralling in five rebounds.
Rutgers will look to avenge its previous loss to Iowa when it travels to Carver-Hawkeye Arena to take on the Hawkeyes (12-7, 4-4). The game will tip off on Sunday at 2 p.m. and will be broadcasted on the Big Ten Network and 88.7 WRSU-FM.
"(The team) played grown man basketball," said Penn State head coach Micah Shrewsberry. "No matter who was on our team they took him to the post, and they scored."
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