Corey Sanders responded to his recent benching with 18 points and five assists as Rutgers blasted Bryant last time out to move to 5-0 on the season. The Scarlet Knights, who are 14-0 in non-conference games at home under coach Steve Pikiell, look to continue their winning ways when they host East Carolina on Friday afternoon.
Sanders was pulled from the starting lineup for Rutgers’ game versus Coppin State because of a lack of effort in practice, according to Pikiell. “If coach sees that I’m slacking, I want him to do what he did, to push me to be the best I can be,” Sanders told reporters after his team’s 83-54 victory Tuesday. East Carolina snapped a two-game losing streak with a 72-69 win over Cleveland State on Monday in its last outing and it wasn’t easy. The Pirates blew an 11-point lead in the second half and had to battle back from seven points down in the game’s final two minutes.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network Plus
ABOUT EAST CAROLINA (2-2): B.J. Tyson had 25 points and Isaac Fleming scored the go-ahead points on a 3-point play with 29.7 seconds left to lift the Pirates past Cleveland State. Kentrell Barkley added 14 points for East Carolina, which will be playing on the road for the first time Friday. “We need some help. We can’t rely on just these two guys,” East Carolina coach Jeff Lebo told reporters about his duo of Tyson and Barkley. “We’ve got to have somebody else step up and be able to make some plays for us.”
ABOUT RUTGERS (5-0): The Scarlet Knights got 29 points from freshman Geo Baker, highlighted by 7-of-10 from 3-point range against Bryant. Rutgers continues to lead the nation in scoring defense by allowing 47.2 points per game. The schedule has been soft thus far, but after Friday’s game it gets much tougher with a game against Florida State followed by the start of Big Ten play.
1. East Carolina is paced by Tyson (17 points per game) and Barkley (15).
2. Baker leads four Rutgers players averaging in double figures at 14 points per game.
3. Rutgers has outscored its easy non-conference schedule 382-236.
PREDICTION: Rutgers 75, East Carolina 62