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Rutgers bounces back with drubbing of Penn State

Jan 24, 2023; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights center Clifford Omoruyi (11) reacts after a basket during the first half in front of Penn State Nittany Lions guard Seth Lundy (1) at Jersey Mike's Arena. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Clifford Omoruyi totaled 16 points and 10 rebounds as Rutgers showcased its relentless defense and pulled away late in the second half for a dominant 65-45 victory over Penn State on Tuesday night in Piscataway, N.J.

Rutgers (14-6, 6-3 Big Ten) won for the eighth time in 10 games and bounced back nicely from its worst showing in Thursday’s 70-57 loss at Michigan State. After falling out of the AP Top 25 poll, the Scarlet Knights dominated the latter portion of the second half by outscoring Penn State 26-9 over the final 13-plus minutes.

Omoruyi posted his eighth double-double as he shot 6 of 7 and helped Rutgers score 34 points in the paint and control the glass by a 43-26 margin.

Reserve Aundre Hyatt scored all 14 of his points in the second half, including 12 during the decisive game-ending run after going 0-for-11 from the field in the previous two games. Paul Mulcahy added 12 points and Caleb McConnell chipped in 10 as Rutgers shot 46 percent and survived leading scorer Cam Spencer being held to three points.

Jalen Pickett led Penn State (13-7, 4-5) with 15 points. Andrew Funk and Seth Lundy added 12 apiece but Penn State shot 33.3 percent. The Nittany Lions also shot a season-low 15.4 percent (4 of 26) from 3-point range and were held to their lowest point total.

Omoruyi scored 10 points as Rutgers opened a 16-9 lead with about 10 minutes left in the first half, and Mawot Mag’s 3-pointer gave the Scarlet Knights a 25-15 lead with 5:25 left. Rutgers held a 32-24 lead at halftime after Lundy missed a jumper at the horn.

Penn State missed three chances to forge a 37-all tie when Pickett and Funk missed treys in a nine-second span with just under 14 minutes left. Hyatt capped a 12-2 run with a dunk and a pair of 3-pointers to push the lead to 51-38 with 8:29 remaining, and the lead reached 57-42 on another hoop by Hyatt with 3:56 left that essentially sealed it.

–Field Level Media