A new-look Scarlet Knight squad was expected to move fast on the offensive side of the floor and improve its ability to shoot the ball.
While that continues to be the case, there is one constant with a Steve Pikiell coached team and that is defense.
On Wednesday night, Rutgers hosted Georgetown in the final edition of the Gavitt Tipoff Games and made it difficult for the road team all night long.
The Scarlet Knights forced 21 turnovers during a 71-60 win over the Hoyas at Jersey Mike’s Arena in Piscataway. They held Georgetown to just 35.3% shooting from the field, including 7-for-25 from three-point range.
Rutgers (3-1) knocked down nine three’s in the win and dished out 11 assists, compared to just three from Georgetown (1-2). The Scarlet Knights had four players finish in double-figures, led by 15 points from Derek Simpson. Rutgers struggled from the free throw line shooting 14-for-24 but Simpson knocked down all six of his attempts.
Rutgers sped up Georgetown from the early moments and this led to a double-digit lead following a Jamichael Davis dunk with eight minutes left in the first half. The strong duo of freshmen in Davis and Gavin Griffiths combined for 17 of Rutgers’ first 27 points.
Georgetown went on a 12-1 run to cut the Scarlet Knight lead to two with just under four minutes left in the first but Rutgers would end the half with momentum. It culminated with a Griffiths outback dunk on the final play of the half. He finished with 12 points despite playing sparingly in the second half.
Rutgers came out and knocked down its first four shots from beyond the arc to build a comfortable lead. Aundre Hyatt hit back-to-back from deep followed by a Noah Fernandes three that ballooned the lead to 18. From here, Georgetown was unable to climb back in.
Hyatt finished with 12 points and seven rebounds while Fernandes added 10 points.
Rutgers will be back in action on Saturday as Howard comes to town. The Scarlet Knights will look to build upon its best effort of the early portion of the season.
The new-look Scarlet Knights are going to score more points this season and do it in many ways, including from beyond the arc. In just the fourth game of the season, it has to put a smile on Pikiell’s face to see the defense coming together.