Rutgers stuns No. 7 Georgetown 71-68

Jonathan Mitchell scored a career-high 24 points and Dane Miller added a crucial, acrobatic tip-in with 21.7 seconds remaining as the Scarlet Knights topped No. 7 Georgetown on Sunday at the RAC. It was Rutgers' third win in four Big East games after starting the conference season with eight straight losses.

PISCATAWAY -- There was a hint of hesitation, but not even Dane Miller, the freshman who authored the improbable tip-in, could hide his shock.

His follow of a missed Mike Rosario jumper gave the Scarlet Knights a one-point lead with 21.7 seconds remaining, but it was hardly a garden-variety tip.

The shot boosted Rutgers to a stunning 71-68 upset of No. 7 Georgetown in front of 6,225 Sunday at the RAC, marking the second-highest ranked team the Scarlet Knights defeated in school history.

With Rosario taking aim from straight on and Miller standing in the left corner, he seemed like the last player to be involved in the play. But when Rosario's shot hit the rim and bounded high, Miller leapt above everyone to tip the ball off the backboard and in.

"I'm definitely surprised it went in,'' Miller said. "It was definitely angels, or something in the air, that carried that ball in.''

Miller finished with 13 points, including two free throws with 10.1 seconds remaining, and 10 rebounds. Power forward Jonathan Mitchell made his first seven shots and scored a game- and career-high 24 points to go with seven rebounds.

It was the Scarlet Knights' (13-12, 3-9 Big East) third win in four conference games. The only higher ranked team Rutgers beat was No. 6 West Virginia, and that took place in 1982.

"This is huge,'' said Mitchell, who made two free throws with 4.1 seconds left and Rutgers ahead by a point. "This is great for our team, great for or university and our fans.''

The win was secured when Hoyas (18-6, 8-5) guard Austin Freeman's rushed 3-pointer bounced off the rim, setting off a series of hugs, dances and running body bumps from the Scarlet Knights.

The celebration also spilled over to the base of the student section, where several players ran over to give, and receive, some hugs and hand slaps.

"The first thing I said to the guys in the locker room was ‘We won the game yesterday.' ‘'Rutgers coach Fred Hill said. "If you had been here at practice (Saturday), we were unbelievable. The focus, the energy, the intensity, it was unbelievable. It was game-like.

"I knew coming in that we would play with physicality, great intensity, and great emotion, and if we knocked down some shots, we had a great chance to win this game."

The Hoyas were led by Greg Monroe's 19 points, eight rebounds, six assists and four blocked shots, but he also turned the ball over five times as the Scarlet Knights shifted between a 2-3 zone and man-to-man defense.

Freeman added 17 points, but Georgetown turned the ball over 18 times and attempted only 10 free throws.

"You have to come with a certain level of attentiveness in this league,'' Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "Every team is talented, every team is well coached. Every game you have to be at the top of your game to be able to win."

A spirited Rutgers, playing with its most energy of the season, led for much of the game despite a lackluster shooting performance from leading scorer Mike Rosario. He was 3 of 16 from the field, including 2 of 10 from 3-point range, and finished with 10 points.

But the Scarlet Knights were able to take care of the ball, committing eight turnovers and showing very good patience on offense, and a willingness to rely on others not named Rosario for offense.

And while Rutgers didn't win the rebound battle (it was 34-29), it did manage 12 on the offensive end.

"It takes a lot of pride,'' Rutgers center Hamady Ndiaye said. "We got hurt losing by 20 so many times. It takes a lot of pride to go out and give it your best. It has to hurt to lose, and then you can turn it around and start winning.''

Rutgers led 33-32 at the half and extended to 44-36 with 17:27 left on Rosario's 3-pointer. The Hoyas responded quickly by going inside and tied it 47-47 on Monroe's two free throws with 11:43 remaining.

The Scarlet Knights regained the lead and stretched it to five on several occasions, including on Mitchell's lay-in to make it 63-58 with 4:07 to play.

Georgetown, which last led with five minutes left in the first half, went to Monroe in the final minute and trailing by a point. He easily backed down Ndiaye for a lay-in to give the Hoyas a 66-65 lead with 52.4 seconds remaining.

However, Miller's high-flying tip-in 30 seconds later off Rosario's miss put the Scarlet Knights back in the lead, and they made all four of their free throws afterward to seal the win.

"(Miller) made a great play,'' Hill said. "He's got great athleticism and great timing. He's one guy on the floor capable of making a big play like that.''

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