NCAAB: Saturday, November 12, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. EST
The Line: Rutgers -8. Total: 142.5
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights will be trying to start the season 2-0 when they host the Drexel Dragons at the Louis Brown Athletic Center on Sunday afternoon. Rutgers tipped off its 2016-17 campaign by defeating Division II Molloy 86-57 on Friday. The Dragons are coming off a 78-65 loss at Monmouth on Friday.
New Drexel head coach Zach Spiker, who arrived from Army, saw his Dragons suffer a 13-point setback at the hands of Monmouth on Friday. Spiker is taking over for longtime head coach Bruiser Flint, who was let go after last season. On the bright side, Spiker got significant contributions from two freshmen. Kurk Lee Jr. poured in a team-high 17 points, while Kari Jonsson added nine points. Sammy Mojica added 13 points for Drexel. Lee, a 5-foot-10 guard, averaged 16.4 points, 5.8 assists, and 3.6 rebounds per game during his senior season at his high school in Baltimore. Jonsson is a 6-foot-3 guard from Iceland.
Pikiell era off to winning start
Rutgers is also under the guidance of a new head coach, and the Steve Pikiell era started off on the right foot on Friday. The competition was lackluster at best in the form of Molloy, but the Scarlet Knights took care of business by 29 points without making too much of a fuss. It marked Rutgers’ most lopsided win in a season-opener since a 100-60 victory against Bentley on Dec. 1, 1975.
DeShawn Freeman posted a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds and three teammates–Mike Williams (17), Nigel Johnson (14), and C.J. Gettys (11)–joined him in double-figures. Transfers Johnson (Kansas State) and Gettys (UNC-Wilmington) made their debuts for the Scarlet Knights.
“I thought the student section was great tonight,” Pikiell said. “I want to thank them. It was a good team win. We got our two charges and got down for a couple loose balls. Our defense held, too.”
The Drexel Dragons are:
- 5-1 ATS in their last six overall
- 4-1 ATS in their last five road games
- 20-8 Under in their last 28 overall
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are:
- 1-6 ATS in their last seven overall
- 1-6 ATS in their last seven games against the Colonial Athletic Association
- 1-4 ATS in their last five games against teams with losing records
Six of the 14 Scarlet Knights who saw action on Friday were making their team debuts, so this is a roster that may take some time to gel. The competition level will ratchet up dramatically on Sunday from Molloy to Drexel. As for the Dragons, they faced one of the traditional mid-major powers in Monmouth–so going up against Rutgers should not be much different. The Dragons are 5-1 ATS in their last six overall and 4-1 ATS in their last five on the road. Rutgers is 1-6 ATS in its last seven overall, 1-6 ATS in its last seven against the Colonial Athletic Association, and 1-4 ATS in its last five against losing opponents. Don’t be surprised if those trends continue.