PISCATAWAY — Rutgers did not lose anyone in the transfer portal during the offseason but it did make an addition — and early signs point to it being a good one.
Cam Spencer shined in his Scarlet Knight debut with 17 points on 7-for-13 from the field to lead Rutgers to a 75-35 victory over Columbia at Jersey Mike’s Arena. Rutgers improves to 7-0 in season openers under head coach Steve Pikiell and have won eight straight season openers and 9 of their last 10 overall.
Spencer scored 12 of his 17 points early in the second half to ignite the Scarlet Knights, who outscored Columbia 44-14 over the final 20 minutes. In his first game, Spencer showed off what fans were hoping for.
Spencer finished 3-for-5 from three-point range and was a factor defensively. After his third triple of the night, Spencer pumped his fist and sent a yell in the direction of the student section.
A full-throated crowd did not have to wait long to get out of their seats as Paul Mulcahy found Cliff Omoruyi for an alley-oop right off the opening tip. This sparked a 15-0 run to begin the night.
Omoruyi, who finished with 10 points and 9 rebounds, picked up his second foul in the first half and was sent to the bench. The Scarlet Knights stalled a bit as Columbia was able to get within four. Rutgers turned defense into offense to score the final six points of the game and take a 31-21 lead into the break.
It is clear that the Scarlet Knights will be best with Omoruyi on the floor and out of foul trouble. This has been a cause from concern over the course of his career. Additionally, Rutgers finished 5-for-14 from the free throw line.
The Scarlet Knights shot 8-for-20 from three-point range while holding Columbia to 1-for-21. It finished with just 11 made field goals and turned the ball over 25 times.
Aundre Hyatt logged a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds while Mulcahy and Mawot Mag added 10 points each.
The Scarlet Knights will be back in action on Thursday night to host Sacred Heart.
The offseason hope for this Rutgers team was improved shooting from deep, defensive prowess, and the addition of Spencer bringing a spark. After one night, all three boxes have been checked.