Jan. 11, 2006
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.
The big scorers - Quincy Douby of Rutgers came in averaging 23.2 points and Randy Foye of Villanova came in averaging 21 - were almost at a standoff. Douby finished with 28 points and Foye had 24.
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."