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Derek Simpson lifts Rutgers past upset-minded Stonehill

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Derek Simpson drilled the go-ahead 3-pointer with 14 seconds left and Rutgers survived an upset bid by visiting Stonehill, escaping with a 59-58 win Saturday afternoon in Piscataway, N.J.

Rutgers (8-4) endured a nearly nine-minute field-goal drought in the second half that let Stonehill take the lead.

Chas Stinson was fouled under the basket and made two free throws with 2:01 left to put Stonehill ahead 55-54. Aundre Hyatt responded in kind 20 seconds later with two foul shots for a 56-55 Rutgers edge.

Todd Brogna knocked down a 3-pointer for the Skyhawks with 41 seconds left, but with time winding down the Scarlet Knights kicked the ball around to Simpson to set up his heroics.

Starting in place of the injured Jamichael Davis, Simpson finished with 14 points, six rebounds and four assists. Cliff Omoruyi had 17 points (shooting 11-of-20 at the foul line) plus a career-high 17 rebounds. Hyatt added 15 points.

Stinson set career highs of 23 points and 12 rebounds to power Stonehill (2-13). Tony Felder scored 13 points and Brogna had 12 points and eight rebounds.

Omoruyi scored five straight points to power a 10-3 run in the first half. Austin Williams rattled home a 3-pointer to cap the surge and give Rutgers its largest lead at 27-15 with 6:36 left in the first half.

Stonehill clawed back, and Stinson scored the team’s final seven points of the half to trim it to 35-29 Rutgers at halftime. Stinson shot 5-for-5 in the half.

The Scarlet Knights reestablished a double-digit lead on Simpson’s three-point play with 15:33 to go, but then they hit their scoring drought. Rutgers missed 11 straight field-goal attempts over the next 8:58 of game time.

The Skyhawks capitalized by stringing together a 15-1 run with three 3-pointers. Felder drilled a tiebreaking triple with 11:08 left to put Stonehill in front 45-42.

Omoruyi kept Rutgers close by making six free throws before Hyatt knocked down a game-tying 3-pointer to end the team’s shooting rut. Mawot Mag then nabbed a steal and fed it to Hyatt on the fast break for a 53-51 Rutgers lead.

–Field Level Media

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