PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Mike Rosario (Jersey City, N.J.) shot 13-of-22 to score a career-high 33 points and Hamady Ndiaye (Dakar, Senegal) posted 19 points and nine blocks to lead Rutgers (11-11, 2-8) to a convincing 84-72 win over St. John’s (12-9, 2-7) Tuesday evening at the RAC. The Scarlet Knights shot 56.4 percent (31-55) and out-rebounded the Red Storm by a 38-28 margin to earn their second consecutive BIG EAST Conference victory.
“We were going through a very tough stretch, but two of the things I’m most proud is that (the players) never stopped believing and they never stopped working,” said head coach Fred Hill. “I think that the last two games they have been rewarded for that.”
Rosario scored 21 points in the first half and was 3-of-5 from behind the arc in 39 minutes of action. His scoring output marked the most for an RU player since Quincy Douby posted 36 in an 82-70 win at St. John’s on March 5, 2006.
Ndiaye shot 7-of-10 from the field, 5-of-6 from the free throw line, and grabbed a game high-tying nine rebounds while logging 38 minutes for a second consecutive contest. His nine rejections marked the most for an RU player in a BIG EAST contest.
Junior forward Jonathan Mitchell (Mount Vernon, N.Y.) and junior point guard James Beatty (Wilmington, N.C.) also played key roles in the victory. Mitchell made 5-of-10 field goals, including 4-of-6 from three, to score 18 points. Beatty dished-out a career-high eight assists as the Scarlet Knights accumulated 18 helpers on the evening.
St. John’s posted the contest’s first points via the three-ball, before the home squad responded with a 7-0 run. After the Red Storm tied the score at 7-7, Rutgers took the lead on a Rosario jumper and would never again relinquish the advantage. The Scarlet Knights built their lead to as many as 15 points before taking an 11 point, 40-29, advantage into the locker room at the midpoint.
After the break, Rutgers maintained a double-digit advantage for most of the second half, before a 5-0 Red Storm run reduced the lead to 60-54 with 7:09 remaining. The Scarlet Knights responded with a 7-1 spurt, courtesy of five points from Mitchell, to extinguish any hopes of a St. John’s comeback.
Rutgers returns to the hardwood Saturday afternoon in a 4:00 p.m. tip-off at Louisville. The game will be televised live on SNY.