Rutgers used strong half-court defense and its transition game to hold off visiting Drexel for a 64-58 nonconference win Wednesday night in Piscataway, N.J.
The Scarlet Knights (3-0) shot only 37.3 percent but were successful when picking up the pace, outscoring Drexel 26-2 in fastbreak points. They also made 20 of 25 free throws, many coming on trips to the line after being fouled in transition.
Drexel (2-2) shot 32.3 percent from the floor overall yet led 31-30 at halftime and was ahead with 5:30 left before going without a field goal for more than five minutes. That allowed Rutgers to use a 12-2 run to go from down 50-49 to up 61-52 with 41 seconds left.
Down by as many as 10 in the first half while missing 11 of its first 13 shots, Drexel went on a 13-2 run to take its first lead just before halftime. A jumper by sophomore guard Matey Juric with 1:26 left in the first half gave the Dragons a 29-28 lead.
Another Drexel cold spell after halftime, in the form of nine straight misses to open the second half, allowed Rutgers to go on a 13-2 run to lead 43-33 with 14:03 left.
Then the Knights had their own bout of shooting ineptitude, missing seven of eight field-goal tries while Drexel used a 14-4 run to tie it at 47 with 7:42 to go.
Sophomore guard Ron Harper Jr. led the Knights with 13 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Montez Mathis had 12 points and both junior guard Geo Baker and senior forward Akwasi Yeboah added 11.
Drexel got 11 from senior wing Zach Walton and 10 from sophomore guard Camren Wynter.
--Field Level Media