Jersey Mike’a Arena has built a reputation as one of the best home-court advantages in the nation.
Cam Spencer transferred over from Loyola Maryland and got his first taste of the raucous crowd during the season-opening victory over Columbia. In his first game, Spencer gave the fans plenty to cheer about with 17 points on 7-for-13 from the field.
“I’m having a blast here,” Spencer said.
“I kept the same mentality, if I’m open, I’m going to shoot it. I was just going in the second. The crowd was a new and great experience for me.”
Rutgers has logged many memorable victories at home over the last three years. Of course, none more so than Ron Harper Jr.’s buzzer-beating three to lift the Scarlet Knights over No. 1 Purdue.
After one exhibition game, the season began with fans packing themselves into the 8,000-person arena looking to cheer on their beloved Scarlet Knights.
“The exhibition game helped us get ready for the first game,” Spencer said. “We have our first few here so it’s good to be able to get used to Jersey Mike’s Arena and the crowd. We’re very appreciative of all the support.”
Spencer was the main addition for the Scarlet Knights in the transfer portal this offseason. He brings prowess from beyond the arc and can perform on both sides of the ball. Spencer shot 3-for-5 from deep in the opener but what impressed the most was his instincts on the defensive end.
Rutgers forced 25 turnovers on Monday night and Spencer was a big part of that with six steals. He spent a lot of time in passing lanes and used his active hands to make plays. Offensively, he led the charge for a team that will continue t be unselfish.
“One of our strengths of this team is that we share the game together,” Spencer said. “We don’t are who scores. We just share the ball with each other.”
The Scarlet Knights had five players finish in double-figures, including Paul Mulcahy with 10 points while adding five assists.
Mulcahy comes into the season as the point guard for Rutgers but there were times were Spencer was handling the ball. During the opening minutes of the second half, Spencer was heating up and had the ball in his hands running the offense.
This backcourt duo for Rutgers will be beneficial once Big Ten play begins. Having a second option that can handle the ball and set up the offense is extremely important.
“Paul is awesome,” Spencer said. “He sees everything. I just have to do my best to find the open spots and I know he’ll find me. He has great length and can get to the paint. He’s just a great passer and a great teammate.”
Fans have been waiting to see Spencer in action after months of anticipation. After the opener, it was just as expected — and the team knew it was coming.
“He prepares, he’s a worker, and he’s been a huge addition,” Rutgers head coach Steve Pikiell said. “He adds a whole different dimension to our team.”