Rutgers Men’s Basketball

Caleb McConnell celebrates with Clifford Omoruyi in Rutgers 83-49 win over CCSU, Saturday, November 26, 2022. Photo: Rutgers Athletics.

Rutgers 83 – Central Connecticut State 49

It was a great day for a comeback. After missing the start of the year with an injury, Senior forward Caleb McConnell made his season debut Saturday night at Jersey Mike’s Arena, receiving a standing ovation from the sell out crowd as Rutgers routed Central Connecticut State 83-49.

“Our fans were great today, it’s great to have Caleb (McConnell) back on the court; We missed him,” head coach Steve Pikiell said.

“I think he’s the best defender in the country, too. He’s going to have to get his timing back and everything, but he causes major disruption on the other end of the floor. His athleticism, his quick hands, he knows our system as well as anybody, and I love the fact that I can play him almost at any position. He knows all the positions. While our young guys are figuring out just one position, he knows five positions. It’s just great to have him back. He gives me a lift. We’ve missed him, but I’m glad he’s healthy now and hopefully he stays healthy for a long time.”

Pikeill added that he anticipates senior Paul Mulcahy will be back in the line-up rather soon.

McConnell, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year had four points in 25 minutes in his return. But the team fed off his energy from the start.

Rutgers built a 20-point lead in the first half, leading 44-24 into the break and never looked back.

Freshman Cam Spencer continues to dazzle, leading the team in scoring with 18-points, including 6-of-8 shooting from the free throw line, and 4-of-6 from downtown.

Derek Simpson contributed 14 points in the win. Clifford Omoruyi and Mawot Mag both added 11-points in their effort.

As a unit, Rutgers shot 53 percent from the floor, and an astounding 44-percent from beyond the arch. By comparison, Central Connecticut State shot only 11 percent from three-point land.

Rutgers (5-1) will visit Miami on Wednesday night.