Rutgers and Seton Hall will renew the Garden State Hardwood Classic rivalry on Sunday in Piscataway, N.J.
The Pirates (5-4) lead the all-time series 41-31 and controlled last season’s matchup in Newark, winning 77-63. But the home team has won each of the past five editions, and Rutgers (6-3) is 6-0 at home this season and 20-3 there since the start of 2021-22.
Defense continues to be the Scarlet Knights’ identity under coach Steve Pikiell; they’re ranked sixth in the nation in defensive efficiency by KenPom.com.
Rutgers shut down then-No. 10 Indiana on Dec. 3 in a 63-48 home win before heading to No. 25 Ohio State on Thursday for another Big Ten game.
Rutgers moved ahead in the final two minutes, led by three with eight seconds left and by two on the final play.
The Buckeyes’ Tanner Holden then beat the buzzer on a long 3-pointer that handed Ohio State a 67-66 victory.
But the following day, the Big Ten said its officials missed that Holden drifted out of bounds and was the first person to touch the ball after returning inbounds, which should have been a violation.
“I thought it was (out of bounds) because he was right in front of me,” Pikiell said postgame. “… We got what we wanted, we got to the free throw line, and we just didn’t kind of finish the deal.”
Seton Hall is coming off an 82-55 win over Division II Lincoln that halted a three-game losing streak. The Pirates only pulled away in the final 10 minutes, committed 19 turnovers and made just 5 of 21 3-point attempts.
The Pirates played without starting point guard Kadary Richmond (non-COVID illness), former leading scorer Dre Davis (knee) and Tray Jackson (ankle). First-year Seton Hall coach Shaheen Holloway told NJ.com that Richmond and Jackson had returned to practice, while Davis was questionable for Sunday.
“I think we need everybody to have our offense clicking, especially guys that are offensive guys,” Holloway told NJ.com. “Kadary is an offensive guy. Dre, he was our leading scorer. Tray, I need him to be more of an offensive guy.”
Holloway played in the New Jersey rivalry as a point guard for the Pirates from 1996-2000, when both teams were in the Big East and met once to twice a season.
Rutgers is led by Clifford Omoruyi’s 15.4 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. Cam Spencer is second in points (13.4 ppg) and first in assists (3.8) and steals (2.9). Tyrese Samuel (12.0 points, 7.0 rebounds) carries Seton Hall.
–Field Level Media