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Villanova Rolls Rutgers, Keeps Hopes Alive

New York, NY – The Villanova Wildcats (13-18) had a must-win game on Tuesday night in the first round of the Big East Tournament against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden. ‘Nova point guard Maalik Wayns scored a game-high 28 points for the ‘Cats and led them to a 70-49 rout of Rutgers.

Wayns was deadly, scoring 28 and leading the 'Cats into the second round.

The first half was back and forth between the two teams, and Rutgers held a slight 4-point lead heading into the locker rooms. They were fueled by 15 first-half points from guard Eli Carter, who hit 3 straight 3-pointers midway through the half to put his team ahead.

However, in the second half, it was all ‘Nova all the time. During the first four minutes of the half, the Wildcats went on a scorching 7-0 run to put themselves ahead for good; Rutgers never lead at a point after this, mainly because Villanova’s tenacious defense held Rutgers to 15 points in the second half, and 3-25 shooting from the field.

“Wow, that’s a great defensive effort, it really is,” said Villanova coach Jay Wright. He also noted that this was the first time in a while Villanova had 5 guys on the court who played together, with strong chemistry.

Forward Maurice Sutton blocks a Rutgers shot; Nova's defense was excellent in the second half.

Besides Maalik Wayns, the only other ‘Nova player in double digits was power forward Mouphtaou Yarou, who had 13 points to go along with 12 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals. Jayvaughn Pinkston has cooled off in the past few games, and he only scored 6 points last night.

Carter led the Scarlet Knights with 23 points, and he also added 3 steals to show his defensive excellence.

Villanova plays their second game of the Big East Tournament vs. the 6th-seeded University of South Florida Bulls at 9PM ET on Wednesday. The last time these two teams met, the Bulls knocked off Villanova at the Pavilion, 65-51.

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Categories: CBB, Villanova

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