It had to happen sooner or later.
And Jonathan Mitchell provided the miracle. With just under 3 minutes remaining, Rutgers looked like they were going to fall again.
But Mike Rice and the Scarlet Knights did not give up.
Jonathan Mitchell hit a 3 and was fouled with .8 seconds left and Rutgers defeated the Villanova Wildcats 77-76.For 38 minutes, it didn't feel like Rutgers' game.
Despite making a few runs to close the game to four or three, it never felt like Rutgers was in this game. Every time Rutgers made a run, Villanova was able to make on of their own. Antonio Pena was constantly open at the top of the key and never seemed to miss the jumper. Corey Fisher was unbelievable, hitting threes, finding open big men, and just dominating the Scarlet Knights.
Fouls also came back to bite Rutgers as well. Certainly it wasn't as bad as it has been, but Villanova was in the bonus with ten minutes to go. And the best free throw shooting team in the Big East was able to capitalize.
Still this team doesn't give up, they kept battling and kept themselves in the game. Rutgers clamped down when they needed to and was able to get some stops. Jonathan Mitchell has been on fire lately, and when his three point shot wasn't falling, he went inside. And finally the three started to fall.
James Beatty couldn't get going in the first half either. His three ball wasn't falling, often rimming out. But in the second half, he started to feel it. He and Mitchell went to work, crawling back into the game. And when Villanova missed one of two at the line to put Villanova up 3 instead of 4, the Scarlet Knights took advantage
James Beatty dribbled up the court, found a double screen and reversed back to Mitchell. And the ref's whistle FINALLY went Rutgers way. For the first time since I've been going to games, the GREAT Rutgers fans were allowed to storm the court.
This has got to feel unbelievable for the team. This is the kind of win that can build confidence. This team deserves it.
Seton Hall comes to town on Saturday.