for this game

Fisher, Villanova shake off pesky Rutgers

Feb 20, 2009 - 7:41 AM VILLANOVA, Pennsylvania (Ticker) -- Corey Fisher made sure that Dante Cunningham and the rest of the seniors did not have their last game at The Pavilion spoiled.

Fisher scored all seven of his second-half points on a crucial run as No. 14 Villanova captured an 82-72 victory over Rutgers on Thursday.

In what was considered Senior's Day for Cunningham, Dwayne Anderson, Shane Clark and Frank Tchuisi, the Wildcats (21-5, 9-4 Big East) got a tough challenge from the Scarlet Knights, who stormed back from a seven-point deficit in the second half.

However, Rutgers could not hold down Fisher and Villanova, which scored 80 or more points for the fourth time in its last five games - all wins.

The Wildcats held a 43-36 lead with 16:02 to play on a dunk by Anderson. Yet, the Scarlet Knights later went on a 13-3 run to take a 54-52 edge with 10:59 left on a 3-pointer by Jaron Griffin.

Rutgers also had a 56-54 lead before Fisher started the decisive 12-0 burst with a jumper. The sophomore guard also connected on a 3-pointer and made two free throws as Villanova went back ahead, 66-56, with 7:19 remaining.

Corey Stokes also hit two 3-pointers as the lead ballooned to 76-61 with 4:27 to play.

"They really stretched it," Villanova coach Jay Wright said of Stokes and Fisher's effort on what turned out to be a 22-5 run.

A native of New Jersey, Fisher finished with 14 points while Scottie Reynolds scored 21.

The surge disheartened the Scarlet Knights, who got no closer than eight points thereafter in losing for the fourth straight time.

"The difference (was) we're playing against a top-20 team, senior night, the atmosphere is crazy," said freshman Mike Rosario, who scored 19 points.

Anthony Farmer had 17 points for Rutgers (10-15, 1-12), which shot 52 percent (25-of-48) but also committed 20 turnovers.

"When a team shoots 52.1 percent and 45.5 on threes, usually you lose those games," Wright said.

"You can't turn the ball over 20 times and give up 14 offensive turnovers," Rutgers coach Fred Hill said. "That's the difference."

Stokes ended up with 17 points and Cunningham added 12 and six rebounds for the Wildcats, who went 20-of-24 on free throws.