Rutgers uses second half surge to defeat Drexel 95-66
The Dragons were within three points early in the second half before Rutgers began pulling away.
PISCATAWAY, N.J. –When Drexel forward Alihan Demir hit a driving layup in the first minute of the second half, the visiting Dragons found themselves in a serious game at Rutgers.
Drexel trailed just, 44-41, but soon after, the Scarlet Knights took over.
Led by the scoring of 6-foot-7 junior Eugene Omoruyi and sophomore point guard Geo Baker, Rutgers defeated Drexel, 95-66, Sunday afternoon at the Rutgers Athletic Center.
Omoruyi scored 24, hitting all four of his three-point attempts, and Baker, who shot 9-for-16 from the field, added 20. Rutgers shot 14-for-26 from three-point range.
Guard Kurk Lee, a 5-9 junior, scored 16 points and Demir, a 6-9 junior, added 14 for Drexel (0-2), which concluded a two-game road trip to start the season that included a 66-62 loss at Eastern Michigan on Friday.
Rutgers, which opened with a 90-55 win over Fairleigh Dickinson, is 2-0.
After Demir's basket, Rutgers went into high gear and just past the midway point of the second half, had extended the lead to 26 points.
That's how fast the Scarlet Knights struck.
"We are capable of doing some good things," Drexel third-year coach Zach Spiker said. "Can we do [them] for 40 minutes is the question we are all going to ask."
Drexel had 15 fast-break points in the first half, but just four after intermission, when Rutgers tightened up its transition defense.
"They got out in transition well even when we were getting made baskets, they were coming back and laying it up on us," Baker said. "I thought we did a good job of adjusting in the second half."
Drexel guard Trevor John, a graduate student from Cal Poly who scored 19 points against Eastern Michigan, saw his playing time limited by three first-half fouls. He finished with six points on 2-for-4 shooting, with all the shots from three-point range.
Playing a Big Ten school like Rutgers will no doubt help Drexel as it contends in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Dragons, coming off a 13-20 season, were picked ninth among the 10 CAA teams in a preseason poll.
With seven newcomers, it may take some time for Spiker to see his team jell.
"It will take more time than I want," said Spiker, whose team committed 18 turnovers. "I want it done now. Yes, it will [take time]. There will be some great teaching points."
Drexel plays its home opener at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Daskalakis Athletic Center against Division-III Bryn Athyn College.