I'm a New York Mets & New York Giants fan. I've seen worst collapses. But last night still stings.
Like the rest of 'Nova Nation, I went to bed angry last night. Not upset, not disappointed, just flat-out angry. Angry at the players, angry at the coaching staff, angry at myself for sitting through the whole game, angry at the 'Jersey Shore cast.' Angry in general.
At this day in age, the Villanova Wildcats are just a flat-out better program than the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. That hasn't stopped us from losing at The RAC twice in the last five years.
This time, the 'Cats went down 77-76 in what wasn't just a loss, but a collapse of epic proportions. (box score) Villanova led by 10 point with 2 minutes left in this game, and looked in total control. Less than a minute later, the lead was cut to 2 behind the newfound ability to NOT beat the press, and forget what color jersey we were wearing. The fact that Rutgers suddenly caught fire from downtown didn't help matters either.
At the end of the day though, it's just another loss. The sooner we all remember that, the sooner we can move on to College GameDay this weekend and enjoy what will be the day of the year for Villanova basketball.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly after The Jump.
Antonio Pena - 15 points, 8 rebounds, and from what I can remember, an almost sniper with that 18-foot jumper. It's amazing how much he's developed over his 5 years on campus. I'd call him the best player on the team at this point if it wasn't for...
Corey Fisher - Forget the missed FT at the end that would have iced the game. Forget the foul on Jonathan Mitchell that allowed Rutgers to steal a win. He was a man amongst boys tonight. This loss is in no way 'on him.' 23 points, 10 assists, 5 steals. 5 3-pointers. I can't put into words where this team would be if we lost Fisher. It wouldn't be pretty though.
James Bell - Lost in the mayhem at the end was the play of the freshman. He was INCREDIBLE. He played great D, he had a HUGE offensive rebound (and the subsequent FT's, ice water in his veins), and then drilled a HUGE 3 late in the game with a guy all over him. This kid is a player. Most freshman wouldn't do so well after not playing at all recently. Bell looked like he was a senior out there. Ecstatic for him.
Mike Rice - I'll choose my words carefully since I've already re-written this 4 times to remove profanity. He's just not a good guy. Complains after EVERY call that goes against his team. He'll lead the league in technical fouls every year he's here, mark my words. I guess it worked though, what a ticky-tack call on Fisher at the end. He was lobbying for that all game. Congrats Mike, you finally won a game.
The Collaspe - Have to mention it again, because this team needs to learn that they are NOT good enough to coast through the end of a game. Play til the final whistle boys. We should have never been in a position to lose on a 4-point play. Never.
Corey Stokes - He didn't play bad. In fact, he was phenomenal in the 1st half. But he didn't play much in the 2nd and we haven't heard an official word on the problem, although according to Frank Diana in the postGame comments, they were looking at his foot in the 2nd half. God forbid we don't have him this weekend. Yikes.
Dominic Cheek's night - Although not his fault, Cheek managed to foul out in just 17 minutes of action. 1 of the fouls they called on him was legit. The rest I thought were great defensive plays by him. Oh well, just a tough night for Dom. His steal and And-1 finish was highlight-reel material. The kid is just soooooo athletic.
That's all for now. I had forgotten about the game when I woke up and then needed to write this. Now I want to forget it again. Let's kick the crap out of the Pittsburgh Panthers this weekend in front of the entire country. Wildcats vs Scarlet Knights coverage