{{ timeAgo('2023-01-24 21:00:02 -0600') }} basketball Edit

TKR TV: Rutgers HC Steve Pikiell + players talk Penn State postgame

Rutgers Basketball head coach Steve Pikiell and players recap the program's 65-45 win against Penn State on Tuesday afternoon.

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Opening Statement:

“I appreciate you guys for being here. (It was) a great environment today. Thank you to our students that got here early. They were loud. Ton of respect for Penn State. Coach Shrewsberry is doing an unbelievable job. They’ve got really good players who can really shoot the ball. They’re a unique team but I thought we did a really good job defending, right back to Rutgers basketball the way we defended for 40 minutes. Great team win. Everyone contributed, these guys were great. Aundre (Hyatt) had an unbelievable second half and Paul (Mulcahy) does what he does. Cliff (Omoruyi), for the entire game rebounding, (his) presence in the paint, whole nine yards. It was a Coaches vs. Cancer game today too. Amy Nolan's our point person for that so I want to thank her for the work she did to make it even more special here. It’s just a good team win. We got a well-earned day off tomorrow for these guys.”

On what this game says about Rutgers:

“They were locked in. They were connected today. (Penn State) has made 18 threes in a game. They’ve got multiple three-point shooters. You have to do a great job on the backboards. The rebounds come off long, too, so everyone's got to be involved. I liked how we got to the free throw line and I liked how we rebounded. I thought in the second half we really started to share the ball and get everybody involved. It was a good team win. They're very good. Pleased with how we took care of a lot of different aspects of this game.”

On Aundre Hyatt’s second half surge being a pivotal moment in the game:

“Yeah, it really was and I told him at halftime he's going to have a great second half and we really believe in him. I think he's one of the best sixth men in the country. We need that from him. He was bouncy, he teed it up when he was open. He just did a really good job and then the guys found him during that stretch. I love as a team when we embrace someone else's success. Guys were saying in the huddle ’get Aundre the ball.’ It's always a good sign when other players are recognizing and then trying to get him the basketball. I thought we did a good job getting Cliff involved in the first half – another double-double for him. And then when Aundre got it going, getting him involved.”

On Cliff Omoruyi’s offense and defense working together:

“Obviously Cliff is so important. Ithought he had more blocks than that. If you told me he had five or six, I would (not be surprised). He altered some shots, he was very active, he got good low-post position. I thought even a couple of the rebounds, he got some tough calls on him. I thought he was clean on some of those. And then he had to sit down and guard the three-point shooters, too. And you saw his athleticism and his ability to bend his knees and do that. He’s a good player, and we need him to play like that.”

On forcing opposing offensive to play at Rutgers’ pace:

“It’s Paul – it’s these guys. It’s Caleb McConnell, Cam (Spencer) and those guys. They’ve decided that they want to be really good on both ends of the floor, but especially on that defensive end and when they're connected they've done a good job. They dictate what kind of season we have. The players are in charge and they were locked in. They were locked in today. They (Penn State) play at that pace anyway, so I knew it would be that kind of a game. We just did a good job being locked in, but it's the players' program.”

On Rutgers’ toughness inside:

“We were just able to get some extra shots on the offensive glass, get the ball down low. We’ve got good size at all our positions. Obviously when you get a guy that's getting double-doubles every night that really helps your rebounding numbers. But everyone (rebounds). Paul rebounds, Caleb sticks his nose in there. We’ve got a lot of guys, so when you look at the team rebounds – Cam Spencer got six, Paul got five, Mawot got seven. So everyone chipped in, and you kind of need that.

On students being so involved with the program, in comparison to 2016:

“Well, I think these guys (the players) have made it that way. They are great in the community. I think they root for these guys. They're great guys, they work hard and they represent the program the right way. I'm glad our students really have embraced them and they're fun to watch. They share the ball. So I was really glad. I saw (the ticket line) wrapped around the diner there. It was unbelievable. It was awesome and I'm very appreciative. They make the place loud. Everyone – the cheerleaders, the band and all the people that are at the game are really involved. I love that they're participants in the game. They're not just sitting there watching it. They're involved. That’s a great sign.”

On Rutgers’ 29 points inside the arc/paint, and how Cliff captains the offensive charge:

“Well, he did and Paul got some layups too down there. We're good around the basket. But we take what we get, and I just thought we got good looks around the basket in this game – in the first half and we stayed with it. And I thought we got good looks, too, in the second half around the basket. I knew eventually threes would go in, they always seem to. Aundre stepped up and made some big ones for us and separated it. We’ve got good players around the basket and we’ve got good size at every position, so we try to take advantage of that.”

Rutgers’ Cliff Omoruyi

On taking charge of Rutgers’ offense:

“My teammates, they believe in me, they share the ball so I just had to face that person in the paint. They told me once I got in a deep position, to just go for the ball. My teammates believe in me and I was able to do what I’ve gotto do.”

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