Rutgers Unable to Hold Off Princeton at Jersey Jam Opener
The Jersey Jam went the way of Princeton as the Tigers held off the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 68-61 at the CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton on Monday night.
Rutgers got off to a slow start, falling behind by nine points, 12-4 in the opening minutes of the contest, before roaring back with a 10-2 run to tie the game at 14.
Oscar Palmquist and Noah Fernandes each delivered a three-pointer to bring RU to within four points. Antwone Woolfolk hit back-to-back attempted jumpers to pull Rutgers even.
Rutgers finally pulled in front 18-16 when Clifford Omoruyi connected on a bucket of his own. Omoruyi finished with 12 points to lead the team.
“It’s on me to have our guys more ready,” Head Coach Steve Pikiell said. “It’s 12-4 out of the gate, can’t have a game start out like that. I do like our teams fight. We fought back and were a couple possessions short.”
The second half was a different story as Rutgers struggled to contain Princeton’s perimeter shooting. Xavian Lee and Blake Peters both contributed huge three-pointers that helped the Tigers mount a nine-point lead with 17:17 to go.
Ten minutes later, Lee hit on a two-point jump shot that gave Princeton a 57-47 lead with 7:40.
While they would be unable to grab the lead again in this game, Rutgers did fight in the second half. Rutgers strung together an 8-0 after the Lee bucket to slice the Princeton lead down to two points, 57-55 when Fernandes connected on three straight free throws.
Unfortunately for Rutgers there was too much Matt Allocco and Xavian Lee down the stretch as the Tigers duo proved deadly at the charity stripe.
Rutgers (0-1) returns to Jersey Mike’s Arena November 10 against Boston University.