Omoruyi double-doubles, Rutgers tops Fairleigh Dickinson
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) — Peter Kiss couldn’t sleep the last couple of nights. Not with the anticipation of his first collegiate basketball game in a year and a half.
But he didn’t look tired, Friday, scoring a game-high 17 points in his Rutgers debut. Eugene Omoruyi had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds to defeat Fairleigh Dickinson 90-55 Wednesday night.
“My teammates got me the ball when I was open and I was fortunate to knock down a couple shots,” Kiss said. “Play hard and let the rest come.”
Kiss — a sophomore transfer from Quinnipiac who sat out last season — showed his athleticism with his ability to finish at the bucket as the Scarlet Knights had a balanced offensive outpouring. Two of the other five starters scored in double digits in Issa Thiam (11) and Geo Baker (10), while Ron Harper Jr. had 15 points off the bench. Baker also had seven assists.
“We got good shooters first of all, but they share the game,” coach Steve Pikiell said. “They pass the ball, guys open.We have some weapons and if they continue to stay together and we continue to improve our defense. We got a lot of guys that can knock down shots, so it’s a little different than in the past.”
After a 3-pointer by Montez Mathis assisted by Kiss, Rutgers took a 23-21 lead with 6:58 to play in the first half and never looked back, taking a 43-33 lead into the break. By late in the second half, Rutgers led by 40, which included a 22-0 run.
“Coach Pikiell — I want to get his halftime speech because they came out in the second half and were just a different team,” Fairleigh Dickinson coach Greg Herenda said. “They really just guarded. They really rebounded and they took us out of everything.”
FDU was led by Darnell Edge with 17 points.
Farleigh Dickinson: For the second straight season, the Knights have been picked to finish second in the Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll after a 9-9 conference record a season ago and an NEC Tournament Semifinals appearance. They earned one first-place vote.
Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights have a new-look roster under their third-year coach with six new scholarship athletes. Replacing the six others, however, means they must replace 55 percent of their scoring and 48 percent of their rebounding from last season.
After shooting a paltry 29 percent from beyond the arc last season, Rutgers hit 12-of-20 3-pointers, the best 3-point shooting clip since going 10-of-16 vs. UMass-Lowell on Dec. 28, 2015.
“For one game anyway, people can’t talk about our 3-point shooting unless they’re going to do it in a positive way, so it will be good for me — no emails tomorrow about 3-point shooting,” Pikiell said.
SHARING IS CARING
Pikiell praised Rutgers ball movement, and it showed on the stat sheet. Along with six players in double figures, the Scarlet Knights had 22 assists, which is the most since they notched 24 assists vs. Central Connecticut State on Dec. 6, 2016.
Farleigh Dickinson: Host Queens College Wednesday.
Rutgers: Host Drexel Sunday.