(Sports Network) -- The Rutgers basketball program hopes to keep the momentum going from a stunning upset of Big East power Villanova when the Seton Hall Pirates invade Louis Brown Athletic Center Saturday for a conference showdown.
Rutgers pulled off the improbable Wednesday, as senior Jonathan Mitchell was fouled on a game-tying three-pointer with 0.8 seconds left to play and sank the free throw to give the Scarlet Knights a memorable, 77-76, home triumph over No. 9 Villanova. The incredible turn of events capped off a comeback from down 10 with under three minutes remaining in regulation and gave Mitchell a career-high 25-point performance. Rutgers actually overcame a 13-point deficit in the second half by shooting 55.2 percent in the final period, including 7- for-11 (63.6 percent) showing from beyond the arc. Fellow senior James Beatty helped engineer the comeback with 12 of his 15 points coming over the final 4:05 of the contest. Dane Miller added 12 points as the Knights held off an equally impressive 55.8-percent shooting clip overall from Nova.
Seton Hall was on the opposite end of a spirited comeback against then No. 6 UConn last Saturday. The Pirates had the Huskies on the ropes, taking a five- point advantage at halftime to 14 in the second half before UConn's Kemba Walker led a furious comeback for the visitors. The Huskies' defense had as much to do with their eventual 61-59 triumph as Walker, holding Seton Hall without a field goal over the final 8:12 of the contest. The Pirates were clinging to a 57-55 lead with under three minutes to play before Walker drilled a three to give UConn its first lead since the 5:47 mark of the first half. SHU's Jeremy Hazell had his attempt at a game-tying bucket blocked with six ticks left on the clock. Hazell had a game-high 20 points and season-high 11 rebounds in defeat, while Jeff Robinson went for 15 and 11.
Rutgers downed the Pirates in Newark on January 22, 66-60, with 11 of the last 13 matchups decided by six points or less. The Scarlet Knights hold a 15-13 edge at home in the series but Seton Hall owns a 33-25 advantage all-time dating back to their first meeting in 1916.
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