PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) Jerome Seagears had 15 points and nine assists as Rutgers took a 66-51 victory over Canisius in a NIT Season Tip-Off North Regional first-round game Monday night.
Kadeem Jack had 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Scarlet Knights (3-1), who host Drexel in a quarterfinal game Tuesday night. Wally Judge added 11 points and 12 rebounds while D'Von Campbell had 10 points and hit some big shots as Rutgers began pulling away.
The Golden Griffins (1-2), who play Elon in a Tuesday consolation game at Rutgers, got 17 points from Billy Baron.
The Scarlet Knights shot just 36.5 percent (23-for-63) and were 6-for-26 from 3-point range but were aided by a 50-37 rebounding advantage.
Trailing by two after a miserable shooting first half, Rutgers tied it twice early in the second and trailed 33-31 before an 8-0 run gave the Knights the lead for good at 39-33.
After a deliberately played first half, the game began to get a little more wide open and more to Rutgers' liking. The Knights opened a 44-36 advantage with 10:57 left on Campbell's 3-pointer before Canisius got to within 51-47 with 5:40 remaining.
Rutgers then opened the first of its two 16-point leads with a 12-0 run as Judge and Jack scored four points each, and both had consecutive slam dunks before Seagears two free throws made it 63-47 with 1:29 remaining.
Aside from his offensive numbers, Seagears also held Baron to 7-for-19 shooting and had just two turnovers. After shooting 47.8 percent (11-for-23) in the first half, Canisius was 24.3 percent (9-for-37) in the second and finished 33 percent (20-for-60) for the game.
Malick Kone had another big game off the bench for Rutgers with seven rebounds, including six offensive boards.
Rutgers struggled against the Griffins' zone in the first half, shooting just 32.3 percent (10-for-31) and making four of 13 from 3-point range. The Knights also were 2-for-8 from the foul line.
Canisius led for most of the half and a 3-pointer by Baron gave the Griffins a 16-15 lead and they would lead for the remainder of the half, holding a 28-26 edge at intermission. Canisius had its biggest lead of the half was 25-19.