Sanders and Freeman took over the court for Rutgers in an 82-70 victory over Howard, and led the Scarlet Knights to their second straight victory.
“Whatever the expectations were that were out there, I think I did pretty well,” Sanders said. “I wasn’t trying to rush anything. I was just trying to lead the team to a victory and get my points when I can. Get my assists when I can.”
Sanders took the floor for the first time at the 16-minute mark in the first half and did not sit back down until the final five minutes of action. The freshman guard finished with 15 points and four assists after a self-imposed penalty held him out for the first game.
“My team knows that I’m a pass-first point guard, and if they’re open I’m going to give them the ball,” Sanders said. “We’ve got great players and they can score the ball at ease. I just try to get them in the best position that they can get in for me to get them the ball.”
Freeman and Sanders displayed a powerful connection during their time together on the court. Freeman scored a team-high 17 points in 29 minutes. That comes two days after his 13 points in one half against Rutgers-Newark.
“It’s an inside-outside combination,” Jordan said. “DeShawn does a lot of things in the paint passing the ball, scoring the ball, rebounding the ball. Corey does some really good things defensively on the perimeter, moving the ball, creating plays and putting pressure defense. It’s a great combination to have. It’s not Oscar [Robertson] and Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar].”
Rutgers (2-0) faces a step up in competition Thursday in the first road game of the year. The Scarlet Knights travel to Carnesecca Arena in a clash with St. John’s (1-0) and coach Chris Mullen.
- After Sanders sat the first four minutes of the game, he played all but two minutes the rest of the way.
- Freeman (17) and freshman Jonathan Laurent (8) set career highs in points. Laurent recorded a career-high six rebounds as well.
- Sophomore D.J. Foreman tied a career high with eight rebounds to go along with his 13 points. Twelve of his points and every rebound came in the second half.
- Fifth-year senior Omari Grier was the odd man out with Sanders now available. Grier played 16 fewer minutes Sunday, and freshman Justin Goode’s minutes dropped from 30 to 19.
- Shooting remains an issue for Rutgers, which went 2-of-14 from three and hit just 69 percent of its free throws.