March 9, 2005
By JIM O’CONNELL
AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) – Ricky Shields scored 21 points, including the first four of Rutgers’ game-closing 8-0 run, and the Scarlet Knights beat Notre Dame 72-65 on Wednesday night in the opening round of the Big East tournament.
The win advanced 11th-seeded Rutgers (10-18) to a matchup with third-seeded and 16th-ranked Syracuse (24-6) in the quarterfinals on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.
The loss may have ended the NCAA tournament at-large hopes for Notre Dame (17-11), which has lost four of five.
Shields scored on a drive with 1:15 left to give the Scarlet Knights the lead for good at 66-65. He then stole the ball from Colin Falls and went the length of the court for a layup with 57 seconds left.
Notre Dame, which took its last lead at 65-64 on a 3-pointer by Russell Carter with 1:37 to play, missed its last seven shots and had the turnover by Falls.
Rutgers closed the game by going 4-for-5 from the free throw line over the final 32 seconds.
Quincy Douby added 15 points for Rutgers, who had lost three straight and six of seven, including a 66-56 loss at Notre Dame on March 2.
Torin Francis had a season-high 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Irish, while Chris Thomas had 17 points and Carter added a season-high 12.
Carter, who didn’t play in two of the last five games, played a season-high 22 minutes. Chris Quinn, the team’s second-leading scorer with a 13.1 average, injured his right shoulder with 9 minutes left in the first half and didn’t return. He didn’t score in the game.
The win snapped a four-game losing streak in the Big East tournament for Rutgers, which last won a game in 1999.