Scores

Final

Rutgers 72

(10-18, 2-14 Big East)

Notre Dame 65

(17-11, 9-7 Big East)

    9:00 PM ET, March 9, 2005

    Madison Square Garden, New York, New York

    1 2 T
    RUTG 35 3772
    ND 32 3365

    Top Performers

    Rutgers: R. Shields 21 Pts, 3 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl

    Notre Dame: T. Francis 21 Pts, 13 Reb, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Notre Dame's at-large hopes sink with first-round loss

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Ricky Shields had never played beyond the first round of the Big East tournament. The senior guard from Rutgers finally got that win Wednesday night and may have ended the NCAA hopes of Notre Dame.

    "That was one of the goals I wanted to achieve before I left here," he said. "I did not want it to end without that."

    It won't.

    Shields scored 21 points, including the first four of Rutgers' game-closing 8-0 run, and the Scarlet Knights beat Notre Dame 72-65.

    The win advanced 11th-seeded Rutgers (10-18) to a matchup with third-seeded Syracuse (24-6) in the quarterfinals on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.

    "Now we get a chance to match up with Syracuse again," Shields said referring to an 86-84 loss to the Orange in which the Scarlet Knights blew an 18-point halftime lead. "It feels good to have all five guys clicking like we did early in the year and maybe we can keep clicking here for some more wins."

    The loss may have ended the NCAA Tournament at-large hopes for Notre Dame (17-11), which has lost four of five.

    "We'll find out our fate on Sunday," Irish coach Mike Brey said in ending talk about an at-large bid.

    Shields scored on a drive with 1:15 left to give the Scarlet Knights the lead for good at 66-65. He then stole the ball from Colin Falls and went the length of the court for a layup with 57 seconds left.

    Notre Dame, which took its last lead at 65-64 on a 3-pointer by Russell Carter with 1:37 to play, missed its last seven shots and had the turnover by Falls.

    Rutgers closed the game by going 4-for-5 from the free-throw line over the final 32 seconds.

    "We needed two stops at the end. We just needed to make two stops," Notre Dame guard Chris Thomas said.

    Shields said it came down to Rutgers making the plays in the final minutes.

    "I think our composure was supreme today," Shields said. "We knew where we wanted to get the ball. I think in other games we were kind of second-guessing ourselves."

    Quincy Douby added 15 points for Rutgers, who had lost three straight and six of seven, including a 66-56 loss at Notre Dame on March 2.

    Torin Francis had a season-high 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Irish, while Thomas had 17 points and Carter added a season-high 12.

    Carter, who didn't play in two of the last five games, played a season-high 22 minutes. Chris Quinn, the team's second-leading scorer with a 13.1 average, injured his right shoulder with 9 minutes left in the first half and didn't return. He didn't score in the game.

    "We're in a little bit different rhythm when Quinn's not in there," Brey said. "I think it makes Chris Thomas try and do a little too much but he had to do it tonight with Quinn out of there."

    Falls finished 1-for-10 from the field, including 1-for-8 on 3s, and had three points for Notre Dame.

    "Ricky played an outstanding game on both ends," Rutgers coach Gary Waters said. "He was the one guarding Falls. He made the commitment throughout this entire game that he wasn't going to let him score. That's what he did."

    The win snapped a four-game losing streak in the Big East tournament for Rutgers, which last won a game in 1999.

    "I think we were a little hungrier," Douby said. "We struggled in the Big East this year and we weren't just going to lay down and let them get into the NCAA."

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    RUTG
    ND
    Points 72 65
    FG Made-Attempted 29-63 (.460) 22-61 (.361)
    3P Made-Attempted 7-17 (.412) 5-21 (.238)
    FT Made-Attempted 7-11 (.636) 16-19 (.842)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 16 (0/0) 14 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 8 3

    2004-05 Season

    DATEGAMELINKS
    Mar 2, 2005 @ND 66, RUTG 56Recap
    » Mar 9, 2005 RUTG 72, @ND 65Recap