Men’s Basketball Falls To St. John’s In Exhibition Double-OT Thriller

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Rutgers Men’s Basketball Team Opens Season With Thrilling Exhibition Game

The Rutgers men’s basketball team kicked off their season with an exhilarating game at Carnesecca Arena in Queens, New York. Head coach Steve Pikiell and St. John’s head coach Rick Pitino joined forces to play an exhibition game benefiting the Dick Vitale Pediatric Cancer Research Fund at the Jimmy V Foundation. Despite a double-overtime battle, Rutgers fell to St. John’s with a final score of 89-78.

In the second half of the game, Rutgers staged an impressive comeback from a 20-point deficit, forcing the game into extended time. The team’s solid defense held St. John’s to just 25% shooting from the field during the second half.

Coach Pikiell expressed his gratitude towards Coach Pitino for allowing the game to take place, mentioning the significance of the V Foundation and the fight against pediatric cancer. He also highlighted the resilience and determination shown by his team throughout the game.

Senior center Clifford Omoruyi led Rutgers with 16 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocked shots. Freshman Jamichael Davis made an impact off the bench with 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists.

Despite an early 11-0 run from St. John’s, Rutgers fought back and cut the deficit to 11-4 before the first media timeout. St. John’s continued to dominate in the first half, leading 41-23 at halftime.

In the second half, Rutgers faced a 20-point deficit once again, but a strong scoring run, including back-to-back three-pointers from Gavin Griffiths, brought them back into the game. Senior guard Noah Fernandes made a crucial three-pointer to give Rutgers their first lead of the game. The match eventually went into double overtime.

In the end, St. John’s secured the win with a 14-3 run in double overtime. Griffiths and Davis both played key roles for Rutgers throughout the game, contributing points and making significant plays on the court. Coach Pikiell praised their efforts and noted that the team will continue to improve as the season progresses.

The game held special significance with the recent induction of the late Jim Valvano, a Rutgers graduate, into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Valvano, who was a co-captain of the Rutgers basketball team and second in all-time scoring, was honored during the game.

The Rutgers men’s basketball team will next face Princeton on November 6th at the Cure Insurance Arena in Trenton. 

Postgame Quotes

Head Coach Steve Pikiell

Coach Pikiell reflected on the team’s defensive improvement in the second half, acknowledging the strong offensive performance from St. John’s. He mentioned the need to reduce turnovers and improve shooting and free throw accuracy in future games.

Coach Pikiell also praised the performances of Gavin Griffiths and Jamichael Davis, emphasizing their contribution to the team despite being newcomers. He expressed optimism for their development as the season progresses.

Regarding the team’s ability to force overtime, Coach Pikiell mentioned the importance of timely rebounds and improved free throw shooting to secure wins. He emphasized that there were valuable lessons learned from the game.

Coach Pikiell highlighted the impressive performance of senior center Clifford Omoruyi, emphasizing his talent and defensive ability. He expressed confidence in Omoruyi’s potential for a successful season.

When asked about the team’s approach in the exhibition game, Coach Pikiell mentioned the balance between experimenting with different lineups and trying to win the game. He expressed gratitude to Coach Pitino and St. John’s for the opportunity to play against a quality opponent.

Regarding the status of Mawot Mag, Coach Pikiell stated that they are gradually bringing him back into game action along with Emmanuel Ogbole. He noted the contributions of players like Antonio Chol and Antwone Woolfolk in filling the void left by their absence.

Commenting on St. John’s, Coach Pikiell acknowledged their talent and the coaching prowess of their Hall of Fame coach. He expressed appreciation for the support shown by the fans and hoped for a successful fundraising effort for the V Foundation.

Point Guard Noah Fernandes

Noah Fernandes praised the performances of Jamichael Davis and Gavin Griffiths in their first game, recognizing their valuable contributions on both ends of the court. He expressed confidence in their continuous improvement throughout the season.

Overall, the exhibition game provided a thrilling start to the season for the Rutgers men’s basketball team. The team showed resilience and determination, setting the stage for an exciting season ahead.


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