Rematch against Rutgers
After losing to Rutgers for the first time since 2008, the Pirates head to Rutgers on Saturday in a rematch of their 66-60 loss earlier this season. The Scarlet Knights’ record is 13-11 overall and 4-8 in Big East games this season.
Following Rutgers, the Hall return home to face the No. 9 Villanova Wildcats, with a record of 19-5 on the season and 7-4 in conference, on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
The Pirates have seven days off before facing the Scarlet Knights for the second time this season.
In the matchup earlier this season, one of the big differences between the two teams was the shooting percentage. Rutgers shot over 47 percent while the Pirates shot 34 percent for the game.
Scarlet Knights’ sophomore Dane Miller led all scorers with 17 points while grabbing 10 rebounds to be one of two players for Rutgers with a double-double along with freshman Gilvydas Biruta who scored 12 while pulling down 11 rebounds.
Junior Herb Pope also recorded a double-double with 15 points and 16 rebounds both leading the Pirates.
“I hadn’t lost to Rutgers before,” junior Jordan Theodore said after the teams first meeting. “It really hurt me, I didn’t want to lose. When we go to Rutgers we are not losing.”
Since the Jan. 22 matchup, Rutgers has gone 1-3, with three games against teams ranked in the Associated Press top 25.
The Scarlet Knights are coming off of an upset of No. 9 Villanova, 77-76 on Wednesday. Rutgers won the game on a four-point play by senior Jonathan Michell with one second left.
Rutgers overcame a 10 point deficit with less than three minutes remaining to get the victory.
Mitchell led all scorers and was one of four Scarlet Knights in double figures with 25 points on 8-19 shooting.
Senior James Beatty added 15 points to go along with Miller’s 12 points. Freshman Mike Poole scored 11 points off the bench for Rutgers.
The Wildcats also had four players score in double digits with senior Corey Fisher leading the team scoring 23.
Senior Antonio Pena added 15 points for the Wildcats with senior Corey Stokes and sophomore Mouphtaou Yarou both scoring 10 points.
On the season, Rutgers has sent out the same starting line in 22 of their 24 games.
Mitchell leads the team in scoring with 14.5 points per game. Miller is second on the team with 9.7 points per game and leader with six rebounds a game.
At home this season, the Scarlet Knights are 10-4, with three of those wins coming in Big East play.
The Villanova Wildcats have been a top 10 team for most of the season with the exception of three weeks.
Last season the Pirates lost, 81-71, on the road aganst Villanova.
Senior Jeremy Hazell scored 32 points in the loss as the only Pirate in double figures.
Former Wildcat Scottie Reynolds led the Wildcats in scoring with 16 points, while Pena added 15 points.
Before coming to the Prudential Center, the Wildcats play No. 4 Pittsburgh at home on Saturday.
The Wildcats are led by two players who average over 14 points a game. Stokes averages 14.6 points a game with Fisher leading the team with 16 points per game.
In Villanova’s last visit to the Prudential Center the Wildcats won the game in overtime 89-85.
Stephen Valenti can be reached at email@example.com.