Steve Pikiell has accomplished many great things over his six-plus years as head coach of Rutgers — and now, he has reached another significant milestone.
Rutgers handled Sacred Heart with ease during an 88-50 victory at Jersey Mike’s Arena on Thursday night. For Pikiell, this was his 10th victory as head coach of the Scarlet Knights. He is not the sixth person in program history to reach this mark.
Rutgers left no doubt for its head coach in this one. Who can forget game two of the 2021-22 season? The Scarlet Knights let Merrimack hang around and scored just 48 points in the 40 minutes of action. Again Sacred Heart, the Scarlet Knights approached that number in the first half as they led 46-25.
The Scarlet Knights did not waste anytime, jumping out to a 21-8 lead that eventually ballooned to 39-18. Rutgers forced 24 turnovers, making it 49 combined over the first two games.
Early on, it was the Cam Spencer show. He finished with18 points on 6-for-10 from the field and 3-for-6 from three-point range. Spencer has showed that he can fill up a stat sheet, adding seven assists and six rebounds.
Aundre Hyatt has stepped in for an injured Caleb McConnell tremendously. He led the team with 19 points and finished 5-for-7 from the field. The junior knocked down all seven of his free throws and nailed two shots from deep. Cliff Omoruyi bounced back from a slow start with 17 points and seven rebounds on 8-for-13 shooting.
When McConnell returns to the lineup, the bench will get deeper as one starter over these first two games will return. Derek Simpson has mad Ean immediate impact off the bench.
The freshman logged his first double-digit scoring game of his career with 11 points. He has shown great athleticism and flashy passing early on.
It has been just two games against low-level competition but it is encouraging to see the Scarlet Knights handle business early on rather than letting opponents hang around.
The non-conference slate continues on Saturday as Rutgers will host UMass-Lowell.