St. Mary's (4-3, 0-0) played in their 7th contest of the young season while the Scarlet Knights have now played two games on the young season. The Gaels played in four early season contests as part of the Coaches vs Cancer Classic. During the tournament St. Mary's turned heads and raised eyebrows after posting an impressive 61-52 decision at the Golden Bears of California.
As a Final 4 representative in the Coaches vs Cancer Classic, St. Mary's dropped a pair of competitive contests to Top 25 teams: Memphis and Mississippi State.
Rutgers opened up its season in impressive fashion, winning at Charlotte 73-71 on Nov. 22.
Despite opening up their home season during the Thanksgiving holiday, Rutgers' season-opening attendance figure surpassed last year's 6,202 average, reaching a mark of 6,427.
St. Mary's lead for the majority of the first half, keeping the Scarlet Knights' leading scorers at bay. The half featured solid back and forth competition, including 7 lead changes and 6 ties. At the break, Rutgers equaled its largest lead of the game, 3, 28-25. Ollie Bailey led Rutgers with 10 points and 7 rebounds at the half. Foul trouble, however, would keep Bailey (15 points, 8 REB.) out for a significant part of the second half.
Behind a pair of early second half treys by Rutgers sharpshooter Quincy Douby (21 points, 3-4 3-PT, 4-8 FT), the Scarlet Knights quickly raced out to a 34-27 lead after intermission.
However, Daniel Kickert, the 6-foot 10-inch Junior out of Melbourne, Australia, would pace the Gaels on a 7-0 run to tie the contest at 34 a piece at the 16:10 mark. The run would reach 10-1 and St. Mary's would take their first second half lead after a Kickert trey put the Gales up a point, 41-40.
Rutgers would extend their lead to as many as 8 midway through the second half, 54-46, but the Gaels refused to go away down the stretch. St. Mary's would cut the lead to just 58-55 at the 4:19 mark.
Two straight free throws were missed by the Gael PG, E. J. Rowland, and 3 out of 4 during the last 5 minutes proved to be a significant part of the visitor's missed opportunities tonight.
Rutgers stingy defense down the stretch forced timely Gael turnovers on several occasions. After a St. Mary's TO late, Ricky Shields (14 points) finished on the other end after initially stumbling out of the gate. His basket put RU up by 6 with 1:57 left, 61-55.
An impressive power move by Byron Joynes off a slick feed by Quincy Douby's penetration, which drew the defense toward him, resulted in a power dunk by Joynes and put Rutgers ahead for good, 63-58, with 1:10 left to play.
The Scarlet Knights will be in action again Dec. 1, when they host Penn State (3-2) at 7:30 p.m. The contest will feature the first of two home contests versus Big 10 competition.
St. Mary's scored 50 of their 58 points in the paint.
Rutgers shot 45% from the field, 50% from downtown (5-10), and 45% from the charity stripe (9-20).
St. Mary's committed 18 TOs.
Sean Axani was back at the RAC enjoying Rutgers season opening contest at the RAC.