PISCATAWAY, N.J.: Ron Harper Jr. had a career-high 30 points with efficient 11-of-16 shooting, including 5-of-9 from beyond the arc, and Jacob Young finished with 24 points and seven assists as No. 24 Rutgers beat Fairleigh Dickinson 96-75 Friday night.
Fairleigh Dickinson led by as many as seven points at 26-19 with 8:45 left in the first half after a 3-pointer by Brandon Rush. From there, Rutgers clamped down defensively.
Young hit a 3-pointer to give Rutgers a 29-28 lead after trailing much of the first half. The Scarlet Knights extended the lead over the final 5:20, ahead 47-33 at the break and closing the half with a 28-7 run.
Montez Mathis added 15 points for Rutgers (2-0) as the Scarlet Knights led by as many as 26 in the second half. P.O.
Racine had 14 points and 11 rebounds for FDU, while Rush and Jahil Jenkins each scored 16 points.
Joe Munden Jr.’s layup got FDU within single digits at 62-53 with 13:42 to play, but the Knights never got closer.
Rutgers has looked the part of a Top 25 team so far and should stay in the rankings if iot can take care of business Sunday against Hofstra out of the CAA.
All-Big Ten guard Geo Baker sprained his ankle in the opener, causing him to miss the game. The senior captain was on the Rutgers bench with a boot on his left foot.
Fairleigh Dickinson: Picked to finish atop the NEC Preseason Coaches Poll, the Knights return all but three members of last years 11-18 team that went 9-9 in the conference. Seniors Jahli Jenkins and Elyjah Williams were named to the preseason all-conference team for a program that won its first-ever NCAA Tournament game in 2019 and is hoping to make it back to the tournament for the third time under eight-year coach Greg Herenda.
Rutgers: Opening the season as a preseason Top 25 team for the first time since 1978-79, Rutgers has more hype around it than it has in decades. Looking to end its 30-year NCAA Tournament drought this season, the Scarlet Knights are off to a good start. Theyll get one more tuneup vs. a low or mid-major conference team before they host Syracuse in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Fairleigh Dickinson: At Hofstra on Monday.
Rutgers: Hosts Hofstra on Sunday.
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