The Rutgers basketball program pulled off what some would call a miracle Wednesday night. The Scarlet Knights, who trailed by as much as 13 points in the second half, used a last-second 4-point play from senior forward Jonathan Mitchell, who netted a game-best 25 points, to defeat the Villanova Wildcats (No. 9 in the AP poll and No. 10 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll) in a Big East Conference game at the Louis Brown Athletic Center.
Rutgers (13-11, 4-8 Big East) trailed 76-73 with 6.3 seconds remaining after 'Nova's senior guard Corey Fisher made one of two free throws. However, Fisher went from upset savior to goat when he fouled Mitchell, who attempted a game-tying 3-pointer as the game's final seconds ticked away. Mitchell's 3-ball found the bottom of the net and the senior converted the miracle 4-point play that helped give the Scarlet Knights the one-point victory, which led to fans storming the court.
Mitchell scored 12 of his 25 in the last eight minutes. Senior guard James Beatty added 15 points, including a 3-pointer that trimmed 'Nova margin to 75-73 with 11 seconds to go. Freshmen forwards Mike Poole chipped in with 11-bench points while teammate Gilvydas Biruta tallied nine points and nine rebounds.
The Rutgers basketball schedule features the Scarlet Knights hosting the Seton Hall Pirates on Saturday night (7 p.m.). Next Saturday, Rutgers is at the No. 12/13 Syracuse Orange (4 p.m.).
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