The schedule will have plenty of tests for Rutgers but they have not come up just yet. On Saturday, the first real test was thrown at the Scarlet Knights with UMass Lowell coming to town.
The River Hawks enjoyed two blowout victories to start the season. This includes a 27-point victory over Columbia, who Rutgers handled in its season-opener. The Scarlet Knights built a 13-point lead heading into halftime and was able to hang on for a victory.
Rutgers will now have six days to prepare to take on Temple in the Hall of Fame Showcase at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut. What did we learn from game three that can be taken into Friday.
Cliff Omoruyi has arrived
This has been known but it is solidified at this point.
Cliff Omoruyi entered the season with expectations of being one of the best bigs in the Big Ten. So far, he has looked the part of a center that has a chance to be All-Conference. Again, it was mentioned that the competition has not been the best just yet but Omoruyi is dominating the way that is expected.
Against UMass Lowell, Omoruyi logged 22 points and 15 rebounds. He added three blocks as well. Omoruyi is one of the best athletes in the conference. If there has been a knock, he has struggled to finish some layups at time but that will come around as the season goes on.
What we have seen is rebounding and strong defense. Omoruyi is averaging 16.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game this season.
Derek Simpson is a weapon
Paul Mulcahy left Saturday’s game early with a shoulder injury but Derek Simpson stepped in and played well.
Simpson struggled from the field but was able to get to the free throw line and went 10-for-10. This is a skill that will be beneficial for Rutgers, who has struggled at the line over the year. Simpson has showed off a flashy passing ability and some bounce at the rim.
Whether Mulcahy will miss some time or be back on Friday, Simpson is going to continue to produce in the rotation, whether it is in the starting lineup or coming off the bench.
Cam Spencer is a true scorer
There are just some players that have a knack at putting the ball in the basket at any level. That is Cam Spencer.
The Loyola Maryland transfer leads the Scarlet Knights in scoring with 16.7 points per game. He is shooting 50% from the field and has gone 7-of-14 from three-point range and 11-of-11 from the free throw line. Against UMass Lowell, Spencer went just 3-for-9 from the field but was able to get to the line eight times.
In the offseason, the arrival of Spencer gave fans a hope that the team would have another scorer on the roster. Early on, it is certainly looking like it.
Depth is present for Scarlet Knights
Caleb McConnell has yet to make his season debut but Aundre Hyatt has stepped in flawlessly. Simpson is producing off the bench. Mawot Mag is strong on both ends.
Steve Pikiell has many weapons to work with this season. The loss of Ron Harper Jr. and Geo Baker is being made up in different ways. With McConnell recovering from an injury, Hyatt has has put up 14.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game as a starter.
This will be important come conference play. The Scarlet Knights will be tested against Temple and a road game against Miami but there is plenty of talent to rely on moving forward. Once McConnell returns, the big three along with Omoruyi and Mulcahy will be present but the bench will also pack a punch.