Aundre Hyatt scored a game-high 19 points and hit the go-ahead 3-pointer just before the midway point of the second half Sunday afternoon for host Rutgers, which fended off an upset bid by Bryant and escaped with a 66-57 win in Piscataway, N.J.
Clifford Omoruyi posted a double-double (13 points, 15 rebounds) for Rutgers (2-1), which has won two straight following a season-opening loss to Princeton. Derek Simpson added 12 points as the Scarlet Knights improved to 4-0 all-time against Bryant.
Rafael Pinzon had 17 points off the bench for Bryant (1-2), while Connor Withers scored 11 points. Sherif Gross-Bullock (10 points, nine rebounds) flirted with a double-double for the Bulldogs.
Rutgers led 29-25 at the half. Pinzon opened the second with a 3-pointer before Omoruyi scored consecutive baskets and Hyatt sank a 3-pointer to give the Scarlet Knights a 36-28 lead with 18:01 left.
After a timeout, Bryant responded with a 16-5 run in which Pinzon scored nine points for the Bulldogs, who took a 44-41 lead on Withers’ 3-pointer with 12:55 remaining.
The teams combined for eight misses and two turnovers during the next 2:05 before Gavin Griffiths hit a layup — the fourth shot of the possession for Rutgers — to begin an 8-0 run for the Scarlet Knights that included Hyatt’s go-ahead 3-pointer with 10:14 left.
Bryant got within two points three more times, but Omoruyi’s layup with 1:55 left — Rutgers’ first field goal in more than five minutes — extended the Scarlet Knights’ lead to 59-55. Simpson then stole the ball from Gross-Bullock and drained two free throws 18 seconds later.
The Bulldogs got no closer than four the rest of the way and Rutgers iced the game by going 5-of-6 from the free-throw line in the final 50 seconds. Jamichael Davis’ free throws with 13 seconds left provided the final points and gave the Scarlet Knights their biggest lead.
–Field Level Media
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