Thursday, February 10, 2011

Guest Contributor Ray Floriani: Villanova at Rutgers

by Ray Floriani
PISCATAWAY, NJ - At the final buzzer they 'rushed the court'. They deserved to after a thrilling 77-76 Rutgers victory over Villanova at the RAC on Wednesday. When James Bell buried a three for Villanova with 11 seconds left, Jay Wright's club had a 75-70 lead. In my notebook 'the dagger' was scribbled. Bell's shot dropped and the RU crowd let out an emotion sapping sigh and it looked like Rutgers might be finished.

James Beatty of Rutgers then canned a trey with seven seconds left to cut it to two. Corey Fisher was then fouled. Fisher missed the first before hitting the second. Rutgers came down for one last game tying attempt. They got more. Jonathan Mitchell canned a three with .8 second left and was fouled, by Fisher. It was his first and only personal of the night. After a Villanova timeout, the senior forward calmly buried the free throw. Following another time out, a length of the court pass by Villanova was fumbled out of bounds.

Rutgers fans 'rush' the court

It was one of those games you spent the entire time charting, making notes and trying to ascertain the keys only to toss it all out (figuratively) over the final 90 seconds.

Celebration on the floor

The efficiency numbers:


Coach Jay Wright seemed comfortable with more of a deliberate pace. Even the first four minutes were right on the tempo of 60 possessions. The first four saw each with 6 possessions and Villanova with a 9-5 lead (150-83 efficiency edge).

In tempo-free it is rare to see a team 'win' the efficiency battle and lose the game. Maybe it was fitting in this situation given the type night it turned out to be.

The Four Factors:


"Credit Rutgers, they made the plays
when they had to" -- Jay Wright

Rutgers coach Mike Rice alluded to Villanova's hot shooting. In 'raw' numbers, Villanova was 56% from the floor and 50% (8 of 16 ) from beyond the arc. The effective field goal shooting of both teams was well above average with Villanova's outstanding thanks to the three point marksmanship. Rutgers was 8 of 17 (47%) from three.

Offensive rebounding went to the Scarlet Knights with a 13-8 edge on the offensive glass. In second chance points the Scarlet Knights enjoyed a 17-12 edge, which in this game was a difference. Rutgers had an outstanding 13% TO rate with only three turnovers the second half. Villanova, despite the miscues in the stretch was right on the border with a 20% TO rate.

Both teams ran some solid half court sets and shared the ball very well. Villanova had 16 of their 24 field goals assisted while Rutgers 15 of 27 field goals came as a result of scoring passes.

Rutgers had four players in double figures led by Mitchell, the game high scorer with 25 points (also a career high). Rutgers freshman Gilvydas Biruta continues to impress with his hustle and persistence. The 6-8 forward scored 9 points while grabbing 9 rebounds, six on the offensive board.

yours truly is pleased with the present company
but still shocked over those last few seconds

Villanova forward Antonio Pena had a 15 point showing but most of his 7 field goals were perimeter oriented. James Beatty (15 points) and Dane Miller (11 points) both made crucial plays during that late game Rutgers rally.

Like the way Wright had the Wildcats go inside to Mouphtaou Yarou (10 points 5 boards) inside right after a few perimeter shots were buried.

The 'Manley efficiency' of Fisher and Mitchell:


Helping Fisher's numbers was 7 of 12 shooting plus 10 assists to only three turnovers. Mitchell posted very solid numbers but his 8 of 19 shooting from the floor deterred a bit from his final count. To Rutgers fans, what transpired the final .8 second is what mattered most.

Wright felt Villanova didn't play bad and played well enough to win "except for the final minute and a half." Wright felt that even if Mitchell's shot did not go down (and Villanova won) "we still would come away with a lot to go over and learn (regarding late game execution)."

Rutgers is 13-11 (4-8 in conference). Scarlet Knights host Seton Hall on Saturday. Tenth ranked Villanova is 19-5 (7-4). Next up for the Wildcats? Pitt at home on Saturday evening. Attendance was 6,892.

An hour after the final buzzer.
All is quiet at the RAC.

greyCat Notes...
Ray & I have slightly different efficiency numbers for the two teams. Ray divides the points scored (PF for each team) by the team's calculated possessions. I average each team's estimated possession and divide points scored for each team by the average of possessions. Ray's method accounts for why Villanova would have a more efficient offensive game while still losing. Everywhere but the final score I guess.

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