Rosario scored 25 points and Pettis hit two huge 3-pointers in the final minute to give Rutgers a 66-62 victory over Rider Wednesday night. The second one was the clincher and came off a pass from Rosario with 22.3 seconds remaining.
“I just had confidence in taking my shot when it was there,” said Pettis, who entered the game with three 3-pointers. “I was hoping it would come to me and I would knock it down.
“I’m not going to say I’m a hero, I just made the big shot at the right time.”
Rosario, who had a big night despite facing a box-and-one defense, felt a little differently about that.
“For me to have the last shot for myself, it was open,” Rosario said. “I was working on head fakes before the game. I used a head fake, (the defender) jumped, I sent it to my teammate, he knocked it down. He was the hero,” Rosario said.
One of several for the Scarlet Knights.
Freshman Gregory Echenique added 15 points, seven rebounds and five blocks for Rutgers (5-2), which snapped Rider’s three-game winning streak. Anthony Farmer scored six of his seven in the second half and hit some big baskets.
“Coming into the game we knew we had to be a fist instead of five fingers— we had to be together on the road,” Rosario said. “I had confidence in my teammates and we stuck together and dug in the whole game.”
The Broncs (3-2) got a career-high 22 points and 12 rebounds from Mike Ringgold, while Ryan Thompson had 15 points and Novar Gadson added 10.
Trailing 50-40, Rutgers used a 13-2 run for a 53-52 advantage. That started a series of four lead changes before the Broncs took a 60-57 lead with 2:07 remaining.
Farmer then tied it with a 3-pointer, and after Echenique blocked Harris Mansell’s shot, Pettis hit a 3-pointer from the top to make it 63-60 with 57.5 left.
Ringgold’s slam brought Rider within one before Pettis hit his decisive 3-pointer. Rider missed three straight 3-pointers as time ran out.
“I’m devastated,” said Rider coach Tom Dempsey, whose team beat Rutgers for the first time in 13 tries last year. “I feel terrible right now. I expected to win tonight, I know our guys expected to win.
“We’re at a point right now where every night we take the court, we expect to win regardless of the opponent. I think that’s where you want to be as a program.”