PISCATAWAY, N.J. — While the wins keep coming, the shots aren’t falling for Rutgers.
Eugene Omoruyi came off the bench to score a career-high 19 points and grab eight rebounds while Corey Sanders added another 13 points off the bench to lead Rutgers past Coppin State 64-39 on Sunday at the RAC despite an afternoon of putrid shooting.
“I just have to keep playing hard and motivating my teammates and everyone will play hard,” Omoruyi said of the shooting struggles. “We’re always on the nightshift so we’re always working on the shots. It just wasn’t falling today.”
Especially from the free-throw and 3-point line.
Rutgers was just 14 of 28 from the line, down from the 60 percent they were shooting coming in. The 3-point shooting got worse, too, as Rutgers went 2 of 17 after coming in at 23.2 percent. Overall, Rutgers was 24 of 66 from the field.
“Not a tape I’m going to send off to the basketball Hall of Fame, but grinded out a win. … We didn’t make many shots today. It was one of those nights,” coach Steve Pikiell said. “But we were able to find a way to win the basketball game.”
Coppin State jumped out to an early 11-7 lead after back-to-back 3 pointers. Rutgers answered with a 10-0 run and never looked back, taking a 28-22 halftime lead.
Rutgers (4-0) continued to build on the lead to start the second half. Coppin State (0-5) got within nine at 43-34 at the 10:22 mark but Rutgers answered with a 13-0 run to put the game away.
Geo Baker had 11 points and Deshawn Freeman added 10 points and seven rebounds for Rutgers. Coppin State was led by Tre Thomas, who scored 10 points off the bench.
“It was unbelievable effort. We are proud of our guys. We don’t want them to hold their heads down,” Coppin State coach Juan Dixon said. “The score doesn’t indicate what type of game it was. We fought hard.”
Coppin State: The Eagles are still seeking their first win for first-year coach Dixon. The former Maryland star was hired for his first men’s head coaching gig after spending one season as the women’s coach at the District of Columbia.
Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights continue to roll over inferior opponents on their soft nonconference schedule. After five days off, the Scarlet Knights began a stretch of three games in six days.
The star guard came off the bench for the first time this season. Pikiell said it was due to poor practice habits.
“I feel very confident that Corey is going to raise his level and practice better and if he’s motivated to start, then he’ll have better practices,” Pikiell said. “I think he will and I’m hoping this will catapult him to better practices.”
Last time Rutgers held three or more teams under 40 points in one season was 1945-46. Through four games, they’ve already held the City College of New York, Cleveland State and Coppin State to under 40.
PERFECT VS. THE MEAC
While it was the first meeting between Rutgers and Coppin State, the Scarlet Knights are 16-0 against MEAC teams.
NOT MUCH CHARITY
Coppin State did not take a free throw until Tre’ Thomas went to the line for a foul shot with 10:22 left in the game. It was the Eagles’ only foul shot of the game.
Coppin State: At Central Connecticut State on Tuesday night.
Rutgers: Hosts Bryant on Tuesday night.