NEW YORK -- Mike Williams was the only member of the Rutgers team to have played in Madison Square Garden.He made himself right at home, scoring 19 points to lead the Scarlet Knights to their fifth straight victory, 68-53 over Fordham in the Holiday Festival.This was a homecoming, the native of Brooklyn said. I had been here before so I had feel for the court and it was fun with family and friends in the crowd.Deshawn Freeman added 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Scarlet Knights (11-1), who continue their best start in 40 years under first-year coach Steve Pikiell.I dont think that much (about the start), said Pikiell, who came to Rutgers from Stony Brook. Im just proud of these guys. They have jumped on board. Were really locked in defensively and you could see that in the first half.Williams finished 7 for 12 from the field as Rutgers shot 49.1 percent overall (28 for 57), including 4 for 9 from 3-point range, well above the 29 percent it was shooting from there entering the game.Led by Freeman, the Scarlet Knights dominated the rebounding, 51-22.That is a huge emphasis of ours, just keep attacking on the glass, Pikiell said. We have a lot of guys who can rebound and we needed them today.Joseph Chartouny had 17 points for the Rams (5-7), who lost their sixth straight.Thats a really good defensive team, Fordham coach Jeff Neubauer said of Rutgers. We didnt get the looks we got in other games. We did get some good looks but they were well contested.Rutgers led 34-20 at halftime and the Rams were able to close within seven five times -- the last time at 47-40 -- but couldnt get any closer.Fordham finished 6 for 29 from 3-point range and that included missing their first nine attempts from beyond the arc. The 53 points matched a season low for the Rams, who came in averaging 68.1 points per game.Their defensive mentality makes them a huge problem for us, Neubauer said. They deserved to win the way they play defense.BIG PICTUREFordham: The Rams came into the game first in Division I in steals per game at 12.4 and they were third in turnover margin at plus-8. They force an average of 20.7 turnovers. They had 10 steals Sunday and committed nine turnovers.Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights are off to their best start since 1975-76 when they opened 31-0 before losing in the Final Four. ... Rutgers is 12-8 all-time in the Holiday Festival.SECOND CHANCESRutgers finished with a 16-7 advantage in offensive rebounds and that led to the Scarlet Knights finishing with 13 second-chance points to one for Fordham.UP NEXTFordham: The Rams host Central Connecticut State on Wednesday and then open Atlantic 10 play by hosting Duquesne on Dec. 30.Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights are at Seton Hall on Friday in an in-state battle and then are at Wisconsin on Dec. 27 to begin Big Ten play. Swell 500ml Bottle . LOUIS -- Roman Polak was celebrating even before Alexander Steen scored the winning goal in Saturdays 4-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Buy Swell Bottles Nz . -- There were a lot of firsts for the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night. http://www.swellbottlesnz.com/swell-bottle-wood-nz-sale.html . After a replay, the winner will meet Sunderland in the quarterfinals. Sagbo did well to control Sone Alukos right cross and fire past Brighton goalkeeper Peter Brezovan. Aluko was making his first start in four months after recovering from an Achilles injury. Swell Bottle Ombre . Schenn scored the game-winning goal and added two assists to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-1 win over the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday. Swell Water Bottle Nz . PAUL, Minn. SAN FRANCISCO -- When Mike Rizzo and Dusty Baker called Mark Melancon on Saturday from the visiting clubhouse at AT&T Park, one thing that impressed them right away about their new All-Star closer is that he planned to immediately check in with Jonathan Papelbon.It says a lot about his character and makeup, and that was a big reason why he was such an attractive target to us, said Rizzo, Washingtons general manager. His performance level is great but his makeup and character are a lot of the reason that we went out and got him. That tells me hes team-first and Mark Melancon second.Washington sent reliever Felipe Rivero and pitching prospect Taylor Hearn to the Pirates to acquire Melancon, who supplants the struggling Papelbon as Washingtons closer. Rizzo and Baker also spoke to Papelbon, who made it clear he wants to win, Baker said.Melancon is expected to join the Nationals on Sunday for their series finale at San Francisco.Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington tried to tell Melancon he had been traded. And tried. And tried.I felt bad because I missed his call three times because my phone was on silent, so I woke up to that, the reliever said after he awakened from his nap and learned of the deal.A 31-year-old right-hander, Melancon has converted 30 of 33 saves with a 1.51 ERA this season and joins his fifth organization in eight years. He is making $9.65 million and is eligible for free agency after the World Series; as part of the swap, the Pirates will pay Washington $500,000 on Sept. 1.Once considered a possible successor to Mariano Rivera when he broke into the majors with the New York Yankees in 2009, Melancon said during the All-Star break he knew a trade was possible, given his contract status.The move comes as the Pirates find themselves on the fringe of the wild-card race. While general manager Neal Huntington stressed the team remains committed to reaching the playoffs for a fourth straight season, the opportunity to deal Melancon -- who led the majors with 51 saves in 2015 and had 33 in 14 -- for two young arms with friendly long-term contracts was too good to pass up.Bakers bullpen is taxed.Were getting some reinforcements, he said of Melancon.Rivero is under team control through 2021 and hit 100 mph on the radar gun regularly during an extended relief appearance against the Pirates this month. If Melancon left as a free agent, Pittsburgh would have received a high draft pick as compensation.We knew full well that holding Mark Melancon would have been a good return, but at the end of the day we felt this was a better return for us, Huntington said.dddddddddddd.This was the well-traveled Melancons fourth season in Pittsburgh after he also pitched for Houston, Boston and the Yankees.He will move his family once more -- his wife and three kids.This has been a blast. Pittsburgh has a special place in heart. My family has been treated so well, Melancon said. The experiences weve had, just running through my mind all the wild-card games, just big games that weve been in. From where we started, to where we are now, it is an honor. It is an honor to be a Pirate. We got to go through those experiences together. My teammates are my best friends.Papelbon is 2-4 with a 4.41 ERA and has allowed eight runs and seven hits in his past three outing. Manager Dusty Baker wouldnt say earlier Saturday whether Papelbon still was his closer. Baker pulled Papelbon from a game Thursday in the ninth inning.Rivero, a 25-year-old lefty, is 0-3 with a 4.53 ERA this season. Hearn is a 21-year-old lefty who was the Nationals fifth-round pick in the 2015 amateur draft.Pittsburgh will plug the 25-year-old Rivero into a seventh-inning role, with Neftali Feliz working the eighth and Tony Watson in the ninth. Watson was an All-Star in 2014 in a set-up role and will take over a position where Pittsburgh has enjoyed plenty of success during its rise from mediocrity. Each of its previous three closers: Melanon, Jason Grilli and Joel Hanrahan, made the All-Star team wearing black and gold.Manager Clint Hurdle will miss Melancon but is confident in his bullpen options.I love the guy, love the family. Happy we had him. He helped us, I believe we helped him, Hurdle said. We are not giving up anything, we arent lowering the bar. We are not settling. Our organization made a baseball trade, with confidence that our bullpen is going to be in a good place. We are going to be able to compete this year, we are going to be able to add to our competition level in the years to come.Huntington hinted the team may try to take the money it will save by not paying the remaining portion of Melancons contract and use it before Mondays trade deadline. The Pirates need help in the starting rotation, which has been forced to turn to rookies Jameson Taillon and Tyler Glasnow quickly as established players Jeff Locke, John Niese and Juan Nicasio faltered.---AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum, AP Sports Writers Will Graves and Stephen Whyno and AP freelance writer Anthony Totoraitis contributed to this report. ' ' '