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Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Villanova 70, Rutgers 49

By Kieran Darcy



Overview: Rutgers' second season under coach Mike Rice ends in very disappointing fashion, as the 11th-seeded Scarlet Knights are blown out by the 14th-seeded Villanova Wildcats in the opening round of the Big East tournament.

This game was there for the taking -- Rutgers actually led by four at the half! But things took a very different turn after intermission (see below).

Meanwhile Villanova, which had a very underwhelming regular season to say the least, goes on to play another day.

Turning point: Rutgers trailed Villanova 24-16 with 6:52 remaining in the first half, but from there the Scarlet Knights went on an 18-2 run to take a 34-26 lead, and led 34-30 at intermission. Rutgers shot 7-for-11 from 3-point range in the first half.

Villanova got off to a fast start in the second half, while Rutgers went ice-cold shooting the ball and had turnover problems, too. The Wildcats took control of the game with a 12-2 run to start the half, and never looked back. The Scarlet Knights' offensive numbers in the second half were simply abominable (see below). The outcome was a formality in the final minutes.

Key player: Maalik Wayns, Villanova's second-team All-Big East guard, was outstanding as usual, finishing with 28 points, six rebounds and four assists. Rutgers simply could not handle him.

For the Scarlet Knights, freshman guard Eli Carter was excellent, scoring 23 points. But no one else scored more than seven points.

Miscellaneous: Rutgers shot 13-for-30 in the first half (43.3 percent) overall, and as we said earlier, 7-for-11 from downtown. As for the second half? The Scarlet Knights were 3-for-25 (12 percent) -- it doesn't get much worse than that.

What's next: Villanova will face the No. 6 seed, South Florida, on Wednesday night at approximately 9:30 p.m.

Rutgers' season is over -- the Scarlet Knights finish with a record of 14-18, 6-12 in Big East regular season play.