PISCATAWAY, New Jersey — Corey Sanders' long-awaited debut lived up to the hype.
The highly-touted recruit scored 15 points in his debut to lead Rutgers past Howard 82-70 on Sunday.
Sanders sat out the season opener, serving a one-game, self-imposed penalty from Rutgers and accepted by the NCAA for participation in a non-sanctioned basketball event over the summer.
"Corey is that guy. He's going to be a great player in the Big Ten," sophomore guard Mike Williams said. "He's flashy, he's got the confidence., he's got the swagger and that's what we need on this team and I'm glad he's my teammate."
Deshawn Freeman scored 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting and had seven rebounds for Rutgers while D.J. Foreman scored 13 points with eight rebounds. After his first career double-double on Friday against Rutgers-Newark, Williams had six points and two rebounds for the Scarlet Knights (2-0).
James Daniel led Howard (0-2) with 21 points. James Miller chipped in 14 and Damon Collins 10 for the Bison.
Sanders' first highlight dunk put Rutgers up 50-41 with 12:26 left. Sanders took a long pass from Freeman on a fast break.
"That first dunk - it was amazing," Sanders said. "I just knew when I got the leak out that I was going to get it and I was going to throw it down, so that was the 'Welcome to college dunk.' But I've got plenty more coming."
A dunk by Foreman off a pass from Freeman gave Rutgers its first double-digit lead at 54-43 with 10:12 remaining. Rutgers' largest lead was 58-44 with 8:55 left.
Howard got within six, 60-54, on a Marcel Boyd free throw with 5:56 to play. But Rutgers then went on an 8-0 run.
Sanders debuted with 15:34 left in the first half. His first basket came on a 3-point play at 12:58 to snap a 10-10 tie and give Rutgers a lead it wouldn't surrender.
"This is what I've been waiting for," Sanders said. "This is what I've been dreaming abaout. So it's not nerve-wracking. It's more like let's get it on."
A fast-break layup by Sanders to make it 21-13 at 9:59 got the crowd to its feet at a timeout.
Rutgers led Howard 35-27 at the half after a pair of free throws from Justin Goode.
Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights went 1 of 12 from beyond the arc. They didn't hit their first three-pointer until just over three minutes left in the game courtesy of Sanders.
Howard: The Bison weren't much better from three-point land, going 2 of 11.
SHARING THE ROCK
Rutgers did a good job sharing the basketball with good ball movement. The Scarlet Knights notched 18 assists for the second straight game, led by Sanders with five.
"We're a good passing team," Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan said. "We're unselfish. That's a good quality to have."
Rutgers visits St. John's on Thursday.
Howard hosts Medgar Evers on Friday.