PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Steve Pikiell thinks the query of whether or not heart Cliff Omoruyi can fill the void left by Myles Johnson will be put to relaxation.
Omoruyi had 16 factors with 9 rebounds and Ron Harper Jr. had 14 factors with 10 rebounds to guide Rutgers previous Lehigh 73-70 in time beyond regulation in a season opener on Wednesday night time.
“We don’t have to have any more talk about the five spot,” coach Pikiell mentioned of his 6-foot-11, 240-pound sophomore. “I think we’re in very good hands. I love this guy. He’s as good a worker as we’ve ever had in the program. He’s getting better and better every day.”
Omoruyi had a pair of dunks in time beyond regulation, one approaching Rutgers’ first possession to place the Scarlet Knights up 65-63, and so they by no means regarded again.
Lehigh led by as many as seven, 36-29, late within the first half when Jake Betlow made a 3-pointer assisted by Marques Wilson.
Rutgers went into the half trailing 36-31.
Paul Mulcahy made a layup at 18:17 to tie it at 37. Rutgers would retake the lead at 41-40 on a Geo Baker jumper at 16:41. It was the Scarlet Knight’s first lead since 10-9 early within the first half, and they might not path till Lehigh took the lead, 62-61, on a layup by Ben Knotsman with 1:34 remaining.
Baker would tie the sport at 63 on a stepback jumper with 45 seconds left.
“We just ran a little zero play, and I just go to my spot,” Baker mentioned.
Baker, who has a historical past of constructing large pictures for Rutgers, missed a 3-pointer on the buzzer on an isolation play to ship the sport to time beyond regulation.
“I think everyone thought it was going in for sure,” Baker mentioned. “I was telling the dude when I was dribbling it that I was going to make it.”
Lehigh was led by Wilson, who had a game-high 21 factors. Rutgers was 1-of-13 from past the arc.
“I thought we had some good looks, and we’re gonna have to make those,” Pikiell mentioned. “But I like that we still figured out a way to win a basketball game early in the season.”