Clifford Omoruyi had 16 points and nine rebounds and Rutgers held off Lehigh 73-70 in overtime at Piscataway, N.J., on Wednesday night in the nonconference opener for both teams.
Caleb McConnell’s layup gave Rutgers a 69-65 lead with 2:26 remaining in overtime and neither team scored until Omoruyi’s alley-oop dunk made it 71-65 with 45 seconds left.
Marques Wilson’s layup with four seconds remaining brought Lehigh within 71-67 but Geo Baker hit two free throws for Rutgers before Wilson’s 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Ron Harper, Jr. had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Scarlet Knights and Baker added 12 points, all after halftime.
Wilson led the Mountain Hawks of the Patriot League with 21 points and Dominic Parolin had 13 points and 14 rebounds.
Rutgers won despite shooting 37.5 percent (27 of 72) from the field and making 1 of 13 from 3-point range (7.7 percent). Lehigh outrebounded Rutgers 43-41.
A Baker free throw gave Rutgers a 61-57 lead with 4:43 remaining, but Wilson’s 3-pointer pulled Lehigh to within 61-60with 2:53 to play.
Omoruyi missed a free throw with 1:46 left and Lehigh took a 62-61 lead on a Parolin layup.
Evan Taylor made one free throw to increase the Lehigh lead to 63-61, but Baker’s step-back jumper with 45 seconds left tied it. Lehigh then committed its 20th turnover of the night, but Baker missed a three-pointer at the buzzer.
It was a back-and-forth game from the start. Parolin’s three-point play gave Lehigh an 12-10 lead and less than five minutes into the game and Wilson’s jumper midway through the first half made it 20-14 Lehigh.
Rutgers rallied to tie it 20-all on Harper’s three-point play, but the Lehigh answered with five straight points.
Wilson’s jumper made it 34-29 with 1:37 remaining in the opening half and Jake Betlow’s 3-pointer gave the Mountain Hawks their biggest lead of the half at 36-29 before a late Rutgers free throw pulled them with 36-31 at intermission.
Lehigh shot 53.6 percent (15 of 28) in the first half and 47.4 percent (27 of 57) for the game.
–Field Level Media
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