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Rutgers falls to Lafayette 53-51 at Jersey Mike's Arena on Nov. 22, 2021. Photo: Rutgers Athletics.


On a night where Rutgers struggled to shoot from the floor, the Scarlet Knight found themselves with a 1-point lead with 30 seconds to go, thanks to a three-point jumper by Ron Harper Jr.  However, the dramatic three-ball wasn’t enough, as Lafayette answered with a game winning three of their own, with two seconds left, when Kyle Jenkins took a pass from Tyrone Perry, and drained the winner to send Lafayette (1-4) to its first victory of the season.

The loss for Rutgers (3-2) was punctuated by struggles from downtown, as Rutgers was a grand total of 4-for-26 from beyond the arc, and hit on only 28 percent of their shots overall. Lafayette also out-rebounded Rutgers 42-29.

“We have to figure out a way to keep improving,” head coach Steve Pikiell said during his post game news conference. “I thought we had really good looks, I’ll watch the tape. But we certainly can’t shoot that percentage from three when you get open looks. But we’ll continue to plug away. I think a lot of pride, and getting better always as a team, we certainly have to. But we’ll continue to fight.”

Clifford Omoruyi led the way with 14 points and nine rebounds for Rutgers. Ron Harper added 13 points, and Paul Mulcahy contributed 10 points and six boards.

Rutgers led by as many as six points, which they did twice in the first half.  They led 27-21 with 3;50 to go before halftime thanks to a Geo Baker three pointer.  Omoruyi gave RU a 6-point lead, 29-23 with 0:57 to go on a layup, before Lafayette tightened the deficit to one point going into the break. Rutgers trailed by three points, 50-47 with a little over two minutes to go in the game, before Haper sank a jump shot and a three-pointer to put Rutgers on top by one, 51-50. That of course came seconds before Jenkins game-winner.

Jenkins had only five points for Lafayette in victory. Leo O’Boyle lead Lafayette in scoring with 18-points.

Rutgers will visit UMass on Saturday at 2 p.m.