PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Mike Williams had 23 points and four steals and Eugene Omoruyi had 13 points, seven rebounds and two blocks as much-needed sparks off the bench to lead Rutgers past Central Connecticut State 71-67 on Sunday.
After taking a 2-0 lead, Rutgers trailed most of the first half before Williams’ pair of free throws gave the Scarlet Knights (2-0, 2-0 Big Ten) a 28-26 lead with 2:04 left in the first half before taking a 30-29 halftime lead.
CCSU tied it at 32 with 18:33 to play thanks to a layup by Tyler Kohl and again at 44, courtesy of a Kohl 3-pointer before the Blue Devils retook the lead after a pair of Joe Hugley free throws to make it 46-44 with 10:27 to play. Williams answered with a 3-pointer from the right wing with 9:26 remaining to give Rutgers a 47-46 lead and start a 21-6 run over the next 5:29. Down 65-50, CCSU went on an 11-0 run before Rutgers closed out the game.
Kohl scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds off the bench for CCSU (0-2, 0-2 Northeast Conference) while Mustafa Jones scored 14 points.
Deshawn Freeman added 11 points and seven offensive rebounds for Rutgers.
CCSU: Despite being picked to finish ninth in the Northeast Conference coaches poll, the Blue Devils should gain some confidence by hanging with a Big Ten team.
Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights have a soft nonconference schedule and won’t play a team from a Power Five conference until hosting Florida State of the Atlantic Coast Conference on Nov. 28. After today’s performance, it looks like Rutgers will benefit from the soft schedule, giving them time to gel.
CCSU finishes a stretch of three games in five days against tri-state-area teams when they travel to St. John’s on Tuesday.
Rutgers also caps off three games in five days to open the season when they host Cleveland State on Tuesday.