PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP)Cam Spencer scored 17 points and Aundre Hyatt had a double-double and Rutgers beat Columbia 75-35 in a season opener Monday night.
From the 1:48-mark in the first half, the Scarlet Knights outscored Columbia 50-14 to make it a blowout.
Spencer went 3 for 5 from 3-point range, collected six steals and distributed five assists against a single turnover. Hyatt scored 12 points and had 10 rebounds, and Mawot Mag, Paul Mulcahy and Clifford Omoruyi each scored 10. Omoruyi also grabbed nine rebounds.
The Scarlet Knights started with a 15-0 run and extended the lead to 21-5 when Clifford Omoruyi sank a 3-pointer. But the feisty Lions countered when they proceeded to outscore Rutgers 16-4 over a nearly nine-minute span. Geronimo Rubio De La Rosa made a 3, made 1-of-2 foul shots and Cameron Shockley-Okeke made two free throws and Columbia reduced the deficit to 25-21 with 1:48 before intermission.
Zine Eddine Bedri led Columbia with eight points and five rebounds.
The Scarlet Knights return the second-most minutes of any team in the Big Ten Conference at 63.5%. Rutgers made the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back years for the first time since 1975-76.
A trip to the NCAA Tournament in March would mark the first-time ever the school has made it to the Big Dance in three straight seasons.
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