December 29, 2018 / 10:24 PM / 19 days ago

Omoruyi-led Rutgers knocks off Maine

Eugene Omoruyi scored 13 of his 17 points after halftime as Rutgers recovered from a sluggish start and pulled away in the second half for a 70-55 victory over visiting Maine on Saturday afternoon.

Omoruyi made 7 of 12 shots as Rutgers (7-5) outscored Maine 40-28 after halftime and shot 44.8 percent in the second half after encountering difficulties with Maine’s zone defense at times. Freshman guard Caleb McConnell added a career-best 14 points while first-year center Myles Johnson posted his first double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds as Rutgers shot 41.1 percent overall.

Omoruyi’s 11th game in double figures and the showings by the two first-year players helped the Scarlet Knights win on a day when second and third-leading scorers Geo Baker and Peter Kiss struggled. Baker was held to nine points on 3-of-11 shooting but had nine assists while Kiss was limited to five points.

Andrew Fleming and Isaiah White scored 11 points apiece to lead Maine (2-12), which fell to 0-10 on the road and absorbed its ninth double-digit loss this season after getting outscored 25-13 in the final 11-plus minutes. The Black Bears shot 43.5 percent and lost their third straight game.

Rutgers trailed for most of the first half before going on a 12-2 run to take a 30-27 lead by halftime but only after Maine’s desperation 3-pointer from the other side of the court did not count at the buzzer.

The Scarlet Knights only led by four points with about 12 minutes left but finally put it together and scored 14 straight points to take command of the fourth all-time meeting between the schools. A layup by Omoruyi gave Rutgers its first double-digit lead at 52-42 with 8:50 left as Maine went scoreless for a span of 6:28 and saw its deficit reach 18 until a 3-pointer by Terion Moss with 5:05 remaining.

Before pulling away in the second half, Rutgers started the game by trailing 18-8 and 25-18 before getting the lead by halftime.

—Field Level Media

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