PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) -- In a matchup of the Big East's top two
scorers, unheralded Kyle Lowry stole the show.
The sophomore guard scored a career-high 28 points, including a
tie-breaking three-point play in overtime, to help No. 3 Villanova
hold off Rutgers 84-78 on Wednesday night.
Lowery, who came in averaging 9.5 points per game, was 9-for-15
from the field and 9-of-14 at the free throw line for Villanova
(11-1, 2-1 Big East), which had its 10-game winning streak snapped
Sunday by West Virginia.
"Coach [Jay] Wright says there are always extra opportunities
when other players aren't hitting their shots," Lowery said. "If
you're patient, it'll come."
The Wildcats had beaten Rutgers (11-4, 1-1) by 33 points last
season, the Scarlet Knights' worst defeat in its 27 years in the
Louis Brown Athletic Center.
This back-and-forth game was markedly different with both teams
shooting well -- Rutgers was 27-for-54 and Villanova was 27-for-58.
Lowry made the game's key play in overtime and it began with two
missed free throws. Teammate Will Sheridan tapped the second miss
back out to him, and Lowry immediately drove the lane and scored
while being fouled with 1:42 left. The three-point play gave
Villanova a 79-76 lead.
"That play where he took it right back to the rim, that's
Kyle," Wright said. "Conventional wisdom might say that you pull
the ball back out, but I give those guys some freedom out there."
Rutgers trailed 70-67 with 19 seconds left in regulation after
two free throws by Allan Ray. But little-used center Jimmie Inglis,
who hadn't even attempted a 3-pointer in his one-plus seasons at
Rutgers, threw in a bank shot off the glass with 2.5 seconds left
to send the game into overtime.
Rutgers took the lead in overtime on two free throws by Marquis
Webb, but managed only two points after Adrian Hill's dunk off a
feed by Douby with 2:04 remaining.
"We felt we were going to win the game," Webb said. "We took
the lead and that gave us some emotion, but I don't think we
executed our sets well. That's something we did earlier in the game
but in overtime we didn't do that."
Villanova trailed from the final minutes of the first half until
Lowry converted a three-point play with 8:29 left to give the
Wildcats a 58-57 lead. They extended it to 63-57 before Rutgers
clawed back, tying the game at 64 when Douby picked up a loose ball
and scored on a layup.
Foye then gave Villanova a 68-64 lead on a four-point play, but
Webb pulled Rutgers within a point with a 3-pointer with 2:09 left.
After Rutgers forced a jump ball and gained possession, they failed
to take the lead when Douby and Webb both missed jumpers before Ray
made his free throws.
"[Villanova's] maturity and their experience took over," said
Rutgers coach Gary Waters, who starts two freshmen and three
juniors. "I thought that was the difference in the game. We had
every opportunity to take advantage, but we just couldn't come
through with that."