Men's Basketball

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Feb. 5, 1998

Notre Dame Stumbles at Rutgers, 71-61

Game Statistics

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) - Geoff Billet scored Rutgers' final eight points and went 6-for-6 from the line in the final 59 seconds as the Scarlet Knights held off Notre Dame, 71-61, Thursday night.

Rutgers (9-11, 3-9) won for just the second time in eight games while Notre Dame (11-8, 5-6) lost for the third time in five games. ND's Pat Garrity, the Big East's leading scorer, was held to 14 points on 6-for-17 shooting and scored one point in the first half.

Despite shooting 6-for-20 in the second half, Rutgers managed to win by going 17-for-19 from the foul line after intermission and 27-for-33 for the game. It was a season-high for free throws made by the Knights.

A basket by Notre Dame's Derek Manner tied the game at 58-58 with 3:55 remaining. Rob Hodgson gave Rutgers the lead for good when he drove the baseline to make it 60-58 with 3:36 remaining. That started Rutgers on an 11-3 run to end the game, as Earl Johnson hit a foul shot, Hodgson hit two free throws and Billet made a jumper and six straight from the line.

Pat Hickey, who had a career-high 20 points, had ND's only points in the final three minutes. Notre Dame was without reserve guard Keith Friel, who sat out with a bruised thigh after hitting double figures in five of the last six games.

Johnson, Rutgers point guard, led all scorers with 21 points but shot 6-for-19 and did not have an assist. Billet had 17 assists and Hodgson 1, while Eric Clark had nine points and seven rebounds. Rutgers won despite shooting 38 percent and committing 15 turnovers.

After Rutgers scored 10 straight to close the first half, Notre Dame used a 16-3 run at the outset of the second half for a 44-43 lead. That started a series of six lead changes and two ties before Hodgson's baseline drive.

Leading 30-28, Rutgers took control with a 10-0 run in the final 2:23 of the first half. Billet, who had two shots in the first 18 minutes, scored five points in the run and Hodgson hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it 40-28.

After taking a 14-10 lead, Notre Dame shot just 3-for-15 over the final 14 minutes of the half. The Irish shot 9-for-23 overall and Garrity was 0-for-5 with three turnovers.

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