November 29, 2019 / 9:19 PM / 13 days ago

Baker's 17 leads Rutgers past UMass

Geo Baker scored 17 points and Ron Harper Jr. added 15 as Rutgers posted an 82-57 home victory against Massachusetts on Friday afternoon in Piscataway, N.J.

Wearing “Black Friday” jerseys on their home court, the Scarlet Knights won their 50th game under coach Steve Pikiell and improved to 6-1 for the third time in his four seasons.

Rutgers led 34-27 at halftime and upped that lead to double digits early in the second half. Its first 18 field goals were inside the arc before Caleb McConnell canned a 3-pointer to make it 48-35 with 14:01 left.

The Knights shot 53.4 percent overall with its starters going 17 of 28 inside the arc.

Massachusetts (5-3) dropped its third straight game despite 19 points from T.J. Weeks, who made his first career start. The freshman guard hit three consecutive 3-pointers midway through the first half, including a banked-in 40-footer that helped the Minutemen build a 20-14 lead.

UMass would miss its next eight shots, with Rutgers going on a 13-0 run to lead by seven and never trail again.

Sy Chatman added 16 for UMass, which had won nine of the previous 10 meetings with Rutgers.

The Knights forced 19 turnovers, recording 11 steals, converting them into 22 points, and had a 34-6 edge in fastbreak scoring. Baker had four of those steals and four assists.

Rutgers will play its first true road game on Tuesday when it visits Pittsburgh in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Knights are 2-3 in the event since joining the Big Ten in 2014, winning two of three on the road, including a 57-54 victory at Miami last December.

UMass is idle until hosting South Carolina on Wednesday.

—Field Level Media

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