Farmer, Coburn lead Rutgers to upset of No. 18 Villanova

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PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP)—Fred Hill’s biggest victory at Rutgers came at the expense of a good friend and former boss.

Anthony Farmer and Mike Coburn each scored 23 points to help Rutgers upset No. 18 Villanova 80-68 for the Scarlet Knights’ first victory against a ranked opponent in more than two years.

Hill, a former Villanova assistant under Villanova’s Jay Wright before becoming the Rutgers coach last season, said he had mixed emotions.

“It’s one of the things I wish would never happened,” said Hill, whose Scarlet Knights won their first Big East conference game in seven tries while also ending a four-game losing steak to the Wildcats.

“He’s a very good friend. I spent four really good years at Villanova. You never feel good beating a family member.”

Coburn and Farmer made seven of their first eight shots and scored 13 points during a 16-2 Rutgers run to start the game.

“All the extra shooting really paid off,” said Farmer, who made 7 of 11 from the field and scored 11 points in just under 10 minutes to begin the game.

The torrid start by Coburn and Farmer forced Wright to use two quick 30-second timeouts to defuse the crowd at the Rutgers Athletic Center.

“Tonight was very special for us, because we set out to get big wins, to have the RAC how it was tonight. The energy in the building was just crazy,” said Farmer. “We used to call the RAC the sixth man. We have to get it back like that.”

Malcolm Grant scored 23 points, including a stretch of 17 in a row, for the Wildcats (13-4, 3-3), who lost for the first time in five games against Rutgers.

“All of those stats don’t matter, because we didn’t get the win,” said Grant, who made his first five 3-pointers before missing an attempt with just over one minute remaining and the Wildcats down 73-64.

Villanova committed a season-high 19 turnovers and shot just 36.7 percent (22 of 60) for the game.

“We’re just a team that’s finding its way,” Wright said. “I’m not happy about it. Win or lose, you have to get better.”

Rutgers shot 50 percent (24-of-48) for the game and improved to 9-11 overall.

Scottie Reynolds, who was averaging 17.5 points per game to lead the Wildcats, struggled through one of his worst shooting performances. The sophomore made just 5 of 19 shots from the field, missed 7 of 8 3-point attempts and finished with 16 points.

With 3:45 remaining, Grant tried to shoot the Wildcats back into the game. The freshman scored 17 straight points, including five 3-pointers. His two free throws made it 71-64 with 1:40 remaining.

But the Scarlet Knights made their free throws down the stretch to keep the Wildcats at bay.

Rutgers, which won its first conference game in seven tries, used a 16-2 run to stun the Wildcats to begin the game.

The Wildcats went almost 12 minutes without a basket beginning early in the second half and never recovered.

The Wildcats went almost 12 minutes without a basket beginning early in the second half and never recovered.

“I really think it’s just experience,” said Wright. “You have to go though this. I wish we didn’t, and I tell them that all the time.”

It was the Scarlet Knights’ first victory over a ranked opponent since a 65-56 victory over No. 22 Louisville on Jan. 18, 2006.

Rutgers entered the game last in shooting percentage in the Big East but made eight of its first 10 shots and never trailed in the first half.

The Scarlet Knights made 16 of 25 shots (64 percent) in the first 20 minutes, including 6-of-11 (55 percent) from beyond the arc. Coburn and Farmer scored 13 points during the 16-2 run to start the game. They made seven of their first eight shots.

Villanova struggled out of the gate and finished the half 11-of-28, which included six 3-pointers.

Farmer, who averages 10.4 points a game, scored 15 points in the first half and made his third 3-pointer as time expired to send the Scarlet Knights into halftime with a 40-32 lead.

Villanova was once again without its leading rebounder, 6-foot-10 sophomore center Casiem Drummond, who missed his eighth game while nursing a stress fracture in his right ankle.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
M. Grant M. Grant
6-10,  23 Pts
1 Rebs, 0 Assists
A. Farmer A. Farmer
7-11,  23 Pts
1 Rebs, 4 Assists

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