PISCATAWAY, NJ - Rutgers forged a five-point halftime lead and led for the majority of the game before the No.1-ranked Connecticut Huskies rallied for a 75-74 BIG EAST victory before a rollicking, sell-out crowd of 8,044 at the RAC." />
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Rutgers Nearly Pulls Upset, Falls to #1 UConn 75-74
  • Posted on January 06, 2004 12:00:00 AM
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  • PISCATAWAY, NJ - Rutgers forged a five-point halftime lead and led for the majority of the game before the No.1-ranked Connecticut Huskies rallied for a 75-74 BIG EAST victory before a rollicking, sell-out crowd of 8,044 at the RAC.

    Playing with four fouls, Ben Gordon scored eight of his 22 points over the final 4½ minutes and top-ranked Connecticut barely hung on to beat Rutgers 75-74 Tuesday night.

    The Huskies (12-1, 1-0 Big East) won their ninth straight game despite the far-from-dominating performance. Rutgers (7-4, 0-2) was impressive on the offensive boards, wasn't rattled by Connecticut's tough inside defense and led 65-63 with 4:43 to go on a basket by 6-10 senior forward Herve Lamizana.

    Gordon, who picked up his fourth foul with 7:30 to play, then hit a 3-pointer to give the Huskies the lead for good at 66-65. He added two free throws with 4:09 left and jumper down low with 3:35 to play to cap his personal 7-0 run and give Connecticut a five-point lead.

    A driving jumper by Charlie Villanueva with 2:20 left gave Connecticut a 72-66 lead, but the Scarlet Knights were far from done.

    Freshman guard Quincy Douby's drive with 18 seconds left -- Rutgers' first field goal in 4:25 -- made it 74-72. Freshman Marcus Williams made the second of two free throws with 16 seconds to go -- his only point of the game -- and Connecticut had a three-point lead.

    Junior guard Ricky Shields made two free throws with 7 seconds left and when Connecticut in-bounded the ball three players were able to touch it without being fouled and the clock ran out.

    Emeka Okafor had 21 points, 16 rebounds and six blocked shots for Connecticut, while Villaneuva had 15 points and 12 rebounds.

    Lamizana had 20 points and Shields added 19 for Rutgers, which was out-rebounded 53-40 overall but had a 20-17 advantage on the offensive end. Shields was 4-of-11 from 3-point range and Douby, who had 13 points, was 3-for-6 as the Scarlet Knights went 10-for-27 from beyond the arc.

    Both teams struggled from the free throw line. Okafor was 3-of-11 as the Huskies went 13-of-27 and the Scarlet Knights were 16-for-26.

    Rutgers, which beat Connecticut in this building in January 2002, is now 0-6 against top-ranked teams. The Huskies were the first No. 1 team to play in the RAC.

    POSTGAME NOTES

    WITH THE LOSS
    With tonight’s 75-74 loss to No. 1 Connecticut, Rutgers falls to 7-4 overall and 0-2 in the BIG EAST.

    RUTGERS VS. NO. 1 TEAMS
    Tonight’s one-point loss is the closest Rutgers has ever played a top-ranked team. The previous lows occurred when Rutgers fell to top-ranked Duke, 88-79, in East Rutherford, NJ, on Dec. 12, 1992. Rutgers falls to 0-6 overall against top-ranked teams. The Scarlet Knights are now 0-1 against No. 1-ranked teams at home.

    RAC IS A SELLOUT
    Tonight’s crowd of 8,044 is the largest of the season at the RAC, marking the first time this season the Louis Brown Athletic Center has been sold out. It is the 12th sellout in the three-year tenure of head coach Gary Waters and the 46th in the history of the RAC. In its last nine BIG EAST home games, Rutgers has registered eight sellouts.

    SHIELDS COMES OFF BENCH
    After starting the first 69 games of his Rutgers career, junior Ricky Shields came off the bench vs. UConn. He was substituted in the starting lineup for sophomore Calvin Wooten, who earned his second career start (1/26/03 at West Virginia).
    In 32 minutes of action, Shields tied his career high for three-pointers made (4) and three-pointers attempted (11).

    SEE-SAW BATTLE
    In an evenly played first half between Rutgers and Connecticut, no team led by more than six points in the period, with Connecticut leading 8-2 at the 17:09 mark of the first half. There were a total of nine lead changes and one tie in the first half.
    In all, there were 16 lead changes and six ties in the game. Rutgers held the largest lead of the game by either team with an eight point advantage on two different occasions in the second half.

    TAKING CARE OF THE BALL
    The Scarlet Knights continued their trend of taking care of the basketball, turning the ball over just seven times in the contest, tying a season-low. Rutgers has had 10 or less turnovers in three games (7 vs. LIU 12/20/03, 10 at Penn State 12/10/03).

    AN ALL-AROUND EFFORT
    Senior forward Herve Lamizana had another strong all-around game, collecting 20 points, seven rebounds and six blocked shots against the Huskies.
    Lamizana’s six blocks marks the third time this season he has registered six or more blocked shots.
    Date Opponent Blocks
    12/20 LIU 6
    12/27 Northwestern 8
    1/6 UConn 6

    WIGGAN SEASON HIGH IN POINTS
    Juel Wiggan recorded season highs in points (7) and assists (2). He hit a three-pointer at the end of the first half to give RU a 37-32 advantage.

    Official Basketball Box Score
    Connecticut vs Rutgers
    01/06/03 7:30 pm at Louis Brown Athletic Center
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    VISITORS: Connecticut 12-1
                              TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
    ## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
    21 BOONE, Josh......... f  1-4    0-0    1-2    2  3  5   0   3  0  1  2  0  15
    33 BROWN, Denham....... f  1-4    0-1    1-2    0  2  2   1   3  2  3  1  0  29
    50 OKAFOR, Emeka....... c  9-16   0-0    3-11   6 10 16   3  21  0  2  6  1  35
    04 GORDON, Ben......... g  7-11   2-4    6-7    1  3  4   5  22  3  2  0  2  31
    12 BROWN, Taliek....... g  1-3    0-0    0-0    0  2  2   1   2  2  3  0  0  19
    03 VILLANUEVA, Charlie.    7-12   0-0    1-3    3  9 12   4  15  1  2  0  0  23
    05 WILLIAMS, Marcus....    0-3    0-0    1-2    0  2  2   2   1  3  2  0  0  19
    30 TOOLES, Shamon......    0-1    0-0    0-0    2  2  4   3   0  0  1  0  0  12
    31 ANDERSON, Rashad....    3-5    2-3    0-0    2  2  4   2   8  1  1  0  0  17
       TEAM................                         1  1  2
       Totals..............   29-59   4-8   13-27  17 36 53  21  75 12 17  9  3 200
    
    TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 14-30 46.7%   2nd Half: 15-29 51.7%   Game: 49.2%  DEADB
    3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  2-5  40.0%   2nd Half:  2-3  66.7%   Game: 50.0%   REBS
    F Throw % 1st Half:  2-6  33.3%   2nd Half: 11-21 52.4%   Game: 48.1%    7
    
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    HOME TEAM: Rutgers 7-4
                              TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
    ## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
    01 LAMIZANA, Herve..... f  7-19   1-2    5-9    2  5  7   2  20  1  2  6  1  36
    32 AXANI, Sean......... f  2-4    0-0    1-4    5  4  9   3   5  1  0  1  3  21
    04 HILL, Adrian........ c  0-3    0-0    0-0    1  2  3   4   0  0  0  0  1  12
    11 WEBB, Marquis....... g  0-3    0-1    5-6    1  3  4   1   5  3  1  0  0  29
    44 WOOTEN, Calvin...... g  2-7    1-5    0-0    0  0  0   0   5  0  0  0  0  15
    02 SHIELDS, Ricky......    6-16   4-11   3-5    2  4  6   2  19  0  1  1  2  32
    05 DOUBY, Quincy.......    4-15   3-6    2-2    3  0  3   2  13  0  1  1  0  21
    13 WIGGAN, Juel........    3-5    1-2    0-0    0  0  0   2   7  2  0  0  0  21
    21 JOYNES, Byron.......    0-2    0-0    0-0    2  1  3   4   0  1  2  0  0  13
       TEAM................                         4  1  5
       Totals..............   24-74  10-27  16-26  20 20 40  20  74  8  7  9  7 200
    
    TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 14-46 30.4%   2nd Half: 10-28 35.7%   Game: 32.4%  DEADB
    3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  6-16 37.5%   2nd Half:  4-11 36.4%   Game: 37.0%   REBS
    F Throw % 1st Half:  3-7  42.9%   2nd Half: 13-19 68.4%   Game: 61.5%    4
    
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Officials: Tim Higgins, Ed Corbett, Will Bush
    Technical fouls: Connecticut-None. Rutgers-None.
    Attendance: 8044
    Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
    Connecticut...................   32   43  -   75
    Rutgers.......................   37   37  -   74
    ID-242385
    
    Points in the paint-UC 46,RUTGERS 22. Points off turnovers-UC 11,RUTGERS 12.
    2nd chance points-UC 17,RUTGERS 21. Fast break points-UC 12,RUTGERS 7.
    Bench points-UC 24,RUTGERS 39. Score tied-6 times. Lead changed-16 times.
    Last FG-UC 2nd-02:21, RUTGERS 2nd-00:19.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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