PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) — From the opening tip, Rutgers and City College of New York looked like teams from different divisions.
Issa Thiam had 19 points and 11 rebounds for his first career double-double, Deshawn Freeman scored 16 points, and Rutgers cruised past Division III City College of New York 94-38 on Friday night.
It tied the largest margin of victory in school history, 56, when Rutgers defeated Trenton State 91-35 in 1936. Rutgers used the opportunity to clear its bench, with 13 players checking in, including four walk-ons.
"We're figuring our team out — the rotation. And you got an obstacle with Mike (Williams out), so you're always kind of figuring your team out so these games are good to be able to do that," Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said. "So now we got some film against zones, some film against man to man, talked to our guys about turnovers and taking timely 3s when you don't need to, so anytime you got live film of guys playing in action is a good learning tool."
Rutgers stormed out to a 51-13 halftime lead in its season opener and cruised in the second.
Corey Sanders added 12 points for Rutgers, while freshman Geo Baker had 10 points.
"That kid — he's going to be a great player," Sanders said of Baker. "He's ready to play right now and just being out there with him and getting those minutes, it feels good to get our chemistry down and just looking forward to getting more time out there with him."
Samuel Williams led the Beavers with nine points.
CCNY: First-year coach Paul Dail looks to build off a 17-10 season last year where CNNY went to the CUNY Athletic Conference finals.
Rutgers: The season opener marked the beginning of a weak non-conference schedule for the Rutgers. While it won't help Rutgers' RPI, it allows the Scarlet Knights to find their identify, pile up wins early and gain confidence for conference play.
CCNY's tallest player is 6-foot-5. The Beavers have eight players under 6-foot. Rutgers had a clear size advantage, and showed it by outrebounding CCNY 60-20.
Rutgers struggled from beyond the arc going 2-of-17 from 3-point land.
"I don't want to take that many 3s, so that will be addressed, but you got to kind of live through it a little bit and then learn from experience," Pikiell said. "There was no need to take that many 3s tonight, but we had some open ones to that I think our guys are capable of making."
Rutgers' senior guard Mike Williams was held out of the game and is day-to-day after injuring his knee on Sunday in an exhibition against St. John's.
"When Mike's ready to play he'll play and I think he's getting closer," Pikiell said. "It's a long season. I want to make sure he feels good."
Rutgers looks to improve to 10-0 in non-conference home games when it faces Central Connecticut State on Sunday.
City College of New York hosts Purchase College on Wednesday before the Penn State University Harrisburg Tournament.