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Rutgers Pounds DePaul on Way to First 3-0 Start since 2008

Rutgers has its first road victory since 2014 with a confident and controlled 66-59 win over DePaul Thursday night in the Gavitt Tipoff Games. Junior guard Mike Williams led the way with an energetic 14 points and nine rebounds off the bench.

Talk about a night and day difference.

Rutgers averaged just 35 rebounds per game as a team last season, and the latest dominant showing on the glass has Steve Pikiell off to a 3-0 start at Rutgers.

With a 66-59 final in the first Rutgers road victory since 2014, Rutgers dominated DePaul with a 39-24 rebounding advantage.

Rutgers did it with rebounding, defense and free throws – none of which were strengths for last year's struggling Scarlet Knights. Guard Mike Williams led the way with a career-high nine rebounds and 14 points off the bench.

"We lock down," Williams said. "We have the best defensive coach in the nation I believe in coach [Jay] Young. … It works. As you saw, it worked tonight."

Sophomore Corey Sanders locked down DePaul standout Billy Garrett to five points on 1-of-11 shooting. Rutgers was consistent at the charity stripe with a 79 percent night.

The final deletion came with 3:16 on the clock. After a 9-0 DePaul run Sanders split the full-court press and found an open DeShawn Freeman, who dunked home two of his nine points and eight rebounds.

“Proud of our guys,” Pikiell said. “To go on the road and beat a Big East team in their gym is a great sign going forward. … You've got to be tough and gritty on the road and we were today. It was a great road win for us.”

Rutgers is 3-0 for the first time since Fred Hill Jr.'s penultimate season eight years ago. With Niagra on tap for a noon tip Sunday, Pikiell could lead Rutgers to its first 4-0 start since Kevin Bannon won five games in the beginning of the 2000-01 season.

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