Scarlet Knights upend UMass 83-75

Mike Rosario fueled Rutgers' best shooting performance of the season and led the Scarlet Knights to an 83-75 win against Massachusetts on Friday in Atlantic City at the Legends Classic. Rosario was one of five Scarlet Knights in double figures. Rutgers advanced to face Florida in today's title game. Massachusetts was led in scoring by Ricky Harris' 22 points.

Rutgers rebounded from a disappointing loss by putting forth a strong offensive display in beating Massachusetts 83-75 Friday in Atlantic City in the Legends Classic at Boardwalk Hall.

Sophomore guard Mike Rosario was 4 of 5 from 3-point range en route to pacing five Scarlet Knights scoring in double figures. He finished with 22 points and point guard Mike Coburn added 13 points and seven assists.

Rutgers (3-1) will face Florida, which upset No. 2 Michigan State 77-74, in Saturday's championship game at 8 p.m.

Massachusetts (2-3) will play No. 2 Michigan State in the consolation game.

Senior center Hamady Ndiaye had five dunks and made 6 of 8 shots from the field and finished with 14 points, four rebounds and three blocked shots in a season-high 23 minutes. Sophomore center Greg Echenique made all six of his free throw attempts and finished with 10 points in 17 minutes and junior forward Mitchell added 10 points.

It is also a chance for redemption for Mitchell, who transferred from Florida.

"I am very happy for (Ndiaye), coming off an injury, responding and giving us 23 really good minutes,'' Rutgers coach Fred Hill told reporters after the game. "To be honest, it's what I expect out of him. He's a senior, he's our leader and he's our co-captain with Jonathan Mitchell. ...The guys have a lot faith and confidence in him and I have all faith and confidence in him.

"That's what you expect a senior to do. We're a team with not a lot of experience in terms of minutes. I expect (Ndiaye) and Mike and Gregory – they have the most experience – to step and make big plays when it counts."

The Scarlet Knights carved up Massachusetts' defense en route to shooting season-highs from the field (55.8 percent, 29 of 52) and 3-point range (57.1, 8 of 14).

Massachusetts was led by Ricky Harris' 22 points, and Anthony Gurley added 19 points.

The Scarlet Knights took control early, and it began with point guard James Beatty's 3-pointer to give Rutgers a 15-14 lead. Freshman forward Dane Miller completed the run with a lay-in as Rutgers went ahead 25-14 with 9:20 remaining in the first half.

A lay-up by Rosario allowed the Scarlet Knights to push its lead to 60-41 with 15:23 left, but the Minutemen had one more run in them.

When Harris followed two free throws with a 3-pointer, he had pulled Massachusetts within 79-75 with 1:32 to play, but the Scarlet Knights made 4 of 6 free throws in the final minute to hold onto for the win.

"We were able to re-gain our composure and make big plays down the stretch to win the game,'' Hill told reporters. "I though UMass did a very good job of making the game hectic in the second half. It really went away from what got us the lead. We were really running and executing extremely well and then we just ‘went out and played.'

"I think what we learned is that if we play more disciplined, we have a chance to be a pretty good club."

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