Monday, November 26, 2007

#19 Villanova vs NC State

Score: NC State 69, Villanova 68

Players of the Game
: Corey Fisher 21 pts, Casiem Drummond 9 pts, 17 reb

: It's a shame when a game is taken out of the players' hands and is decided by the refs, and that is exactly what happened tonight. After Dante Cunningham's tip-in off of Corey Stokes missed shot to put the Wildcats up by 1 point with 2.2 seconds left, NC State threw a full court pass and shot a quick three and missed, but a foul was called on Cunningham, when he had his hands straight up and didn't touch him. Even if he did touch him the contact was so minimal and did not affect the shot. You can't call a foul in that situation. The referee completely decided the outcome of the game, which is just not fair to the players.
North Carolina State wound up winning the game by one point after Gavin Grant missed the first than made the last two free throws. The final score was 69-68 to make the NC State Wolfpack the 2007 Old Spice Classic champions. Villanova had a poor shooting night going 2-12 for three and 8-18 from the free throw line. In a one point loss you need look no further than those 10 missed free throws to find the difference in the game. Despite the loss, Corey Fisher had an outstanding game. He took over offensively in the second half and was nearly impossible to stop with his acrobatic drives and lay ups. He finished with 21 points to lead the team. Casiem Drummond dominated the glass with 17 rebounds to go along with his 9 points, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks, although he fouled out late in the second half. Dante Cunningham had a good night with 16 points and 8 rebounds, but he did take too many long jump shots that he wound up missing. That is not his shot. He should stay inside, especially with all the great guards on the team. Scottie Reynolds had 13 points and 4 assists, but was basically shut down in the second half. Corey Fisher did a fine job running the offense, but Scottie still should have been more aggressive offensively. Reynolds, and the team as a whole should have looked for more threes in the second half, as they only attempted 2 and missed both. Reggie Redding also fouled out late in the second half. Redding finished with 7 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds. Another key to the game was the loss of Shane Clark. He left the game in the first half with a strained quadriceps and scored 2 points before that. Antonio Pena, Corey Stokes, Malcolm Grant, and Dwayne Anderson were all held scoreless off the bench.
The loss shouldn't hurt the Wildcats in the long run because it was a one point game and NC State will most likely be a tournament team. But a win would have been impressive on their resume, especially since Nova's non-conference schedule is relatively weak. Next up on the schedule is Penn on Saturday at the Pavilion.

Friday, November 23, 2007

#19 Villanova vs George Mason

Score: Villanova 84, George Mason 76
Player of the Game: Scottie Reynolds, 21 pts

Recap: The Villanova Wildcats held on to beat the George Mason Patriots 84-76 in their second round game of the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Florida. Scottie Reynolds led the Wildcats with 21 points and 3 assists. Nova got off to a quick 7-0 start, but Mason came back and kept it close the entire game. George Mason has a very experienced team compared to Villanova's seniorless team, and it showed at times. Nova had some difficulty with George Mason's press towards the end of the game. The Wildcats also had difficultly containing Mason's big man Will Thomas who scored 15 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. Folarin Campbell, another one of the remaining seniors from George Mason's magical Final Four run in 2006, had 25 points. There were a lot of foul calls and both Shane Clark and Scottie Reynolds fouled out of the game. Shane Clark had a double-double with 13 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. Malcolm Grant had an efficient night off the bench shooting 3-3 from the field (all 3 pointers) and 4-4 from the free throw line for 13 points. Reggie Redding had another solid game with 11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. He shot well for three again, going 2-2. Casiem Drummond almost had a double-double with 8 points and 11 rebounds. He has impressed me with his rebounding and inside play. He has really improved since last season. He will be important against teams like Georgetown with big centers like Roy Hibbert. Dante Cunningham had a decent night with 8 points and 4 rebounds. Corey Fisher did less scoring tonight, with 7 points, but he dished the ball for 5 assists. He was 2-7 for three and 1-5 for free throws, however. Corey Stokes again struggled to find his 3 point shot going 1-5 for 3 points. Nova plays North Carolina State on Sunday in the Championship game. NC State beat Rider and South Carolina to get to the championship. They were ranked in the top 25 preseason, but were dropped from the rankings after an upset loss to New Orleans. It should be Villanova's toughest competition so far this season.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

#19 Villanova vs UCF

Score: Villanova 76, UCF 68
Player of the Game: Scottie Reynolds 19 pts, 5 ast

Recap: Villanova beat the University of Central Florida tonight 76-68 in the first round of the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Florida. It was like a home game for UCF, and they put up a great fight, but Nova was able to hold on and make some crucial free throws down the stretch to clinch the victory. It was a fast-paced game with a lot of 3 pointers by both teams. Mike O'Donnell had a great game for UCF, scoring 24 points on 6-12 for three. Scottie Reynolds was the player of the game with 19 points and 5 assists. But the big story of the night was freshman Corey Fisher who broke out with 18 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists off the bench. Fisher Price, as they call him because he toys with defenders, was 4-8 from 3-point land and looked like the star recruit that Nova fans were expecting. Reggie Redding continues to impress, adding 14 points, shooting 2-3 for 3-pointers where he usually struggles. Shane Clark and Dante Cunningham's stats dropped because they spent a lot of the night in foul trouble and both fouled out. They combined for 10 points and 11 rebounds. Casiem Drummond had a decent game with 7 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks, but he continued to struggle from the free throw line, shooting 3-5. Corey Stokes played 14 minutes and had 5 points and 4 rebounds, but was 1-5 for three. He is supposed to be the best shooter on the team, but has been struggling early in the season. I'm sure things will turn around soon and he'll gain confidence in his shot. Malcolm Grant saw limited playing time, as did Antonio Pena. Villanova has a traditional starting line up this year with Reynolds at PG, Redding at SG, Clark at SF, Cunningham at PF, and Drummond at C, but towards the end of the game after Clark and Cunningham fouled out Jay Wright was actually playing 5 guards at once (Reynolds, Fisher, Grant, Redding, Stokes). Villanova plays the winner of Kansas State/George Mason tomorrow. Kansas State has a freshman Michael Beasley averaging 30 points and 20 rebounds so it will be interesting to see him play.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

#23 Villanova vs Bucknell

Score: Villanova 70, Bucknell 64

Player of the Game: Shane Clark 17 pts, 12 reb

Recap: Nova beat Bucknell tonight in the Pavilion, 70-64. Bucknell led most of the game, but Villanova came back in the second half. Dante Cunningham's dunk with just under a minute left sealed the game, putting the Wildcats up by 7. Bucknell's John Griffin had a great game, scoring 22 points (6-10 for 3 pt), but scored only 5 of those in the second half thanks to Reggie Redding's defense. Bucknell's entire team, Griffin especially, shot great from 3 point range (15-31). Every time Nova tried to make a comeback, they'd come right back and hit a 3 pointer. But Nova was able to hold and and make some stops at the end of the game. The key to the game was Nova's rebounding. Casiem Drummond dominated the glass with 6 offensive rebounds and 12 overall to go along with his 8 points. Shane Clark had another great game and had a double-double with 17 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. Scottie Reynolds added 15 points including a clutch 3 pointer down the stretch. Dante Cunningham had 12 points and 5 rebounds. Redding had 12 points and played great defense, but struggled from 3 point range missing all five attempts. Malcolm Grant saw the most time off the bench and had 4 points, but couldn't continue his great 3 point shooting from last game, and went 0-3. Corey Fisher had a disappointing debut, only playing 5 minutes and shooting 0-3 from the field. The other All-American freshman Corey Stokes also played limited minutes and failed to score. I'm sure both of them will progress as the season continues and will eventually play larger roles on the team.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

#25 Villanova vs Stony Brook

Score: Villanova 86, Stony Brook 64
Player of the Game: Shane Clark 25 pts, 7 reb

Recap: Last night was Nova's season opener against Stony Brook at the Pavilion. They won 86-64. Shane Clark was the player of the night with a career high 25 points (4-5 for 3 pt) to go along with 7 rebounds. He was really feeling his jump shot last night, and if a forward like Clark can consistently make threes it will really improve the team. Freshman Malcolm Grant had 16 points, also shooting 4-5 for three. He also played good defensively and showed a lot of hustle. Dante Cunningham had a solid night with 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists. Sophomore star Scottie Reynolds had a bit of an off night shooting, but still scored 13 points and had 6 assists. He had a couple of acrobatic plays driving to the basket and finishing. Casiem Drummond had 8 points and 5 rebounds. He looked good at some moments, especially on the defensive end, but struggled offensively, missing a few easy shots. In particular he missed a wide open lay up under the basket, that he should have dunked hard but instead went up for a soft lay up and missed. Corey Stokes surprising had a very quiet night. He only had 2 points and was 0-2 for three. He looked nervous out there, but hopefully those were just first game jitters and he'll be ready to go next game. Antonio Pena had an embarrassing moment in his first game when he went up for a rebound and accidentally tip the ball into the basket for the other team. Pena had 4 points and 4 rebounds. Dwayne Anderson played limited minutes but had 4 points, 2 of them coming from a spectacular alley-oop dunk. Andrew Ott and walk-on Jason Colenda also made appearance late in the game. Corey Fisher sat out again with tendentious in his knee; hopefully he'll be back soon.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Villanova vs Bloomsburg

Score: Villanova 88, Bloomsburg 41

Player of the Game: Corey Stokes, 18 pts 10 reb

Recap: Tonight I went to Villanova's exhibition game versus Bloomsburg at the Wachovia Center in Philly. Nova won easily 88-41. Scottie Reynolds picked up where he left off las season with 17 points and 8 assists. But most impressive was freshman Corey Stokes. He led the team with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 assists. Redshirt freshman Antonio Pena had a solid game with 15 points and 5 rebounds. Corey Fisher and Shane Clark didn't suit up for the game. I guess they were injured, but hopefully it's nothing serious and they will be able to play Friday in the season opener against Stony Brook. Casiem Drummond looked improved. Hopefully he can provide an inside presence this year. Reggie Redding had a good game all around adding 11 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals. The other freshman Malcolm Grant had a good showing as well. I'm optimistic about this season. It's a very young team, but very talented. They lost some key players in Curtis Sumpter, Mike Nardi, and Will Sheridan, but added three great freshman guards (Corey Fisher, Corey Stokes, Malcolm Grant) and two redshirt freshman forwards (Antonio Pena and Andrew Ott). Last years team lacked depth at the guard position and scoring, and each of those areas have been upgraded. The only area of concern is the frontcourt, but if Casiem Drummond and Antonio Pena can step up and help Dante Cunningham, this team will be successful.