Score: Villanova 68, LSU 67
Player of the Game: Malcolm Grant, 18 pts
Recap: Wow. That's all I can say. LSU dominated almost the entire game, but Villanova came back to take its first lead of the game, off of a Dante Cunningham put-back to make it 68-67 with 5.9 seconds left. The epic 21 point comeback was led by freshman Malcolm Grant. He led all scorers with 18 points, all in the second half. He scored 13 points in the last 6 minutes. He was 3-4 for three and the only Wildcat to make a 3-pointer (3-9), and he also had a 4-point play, which was a key part of the comeback. He also went 9-10 from the foul line down the stretch. It was a sloppy first half for the Wildcats with A LOT of bad passes and Scottie Reynolds missed an open lay-up. LSU had 14 blocks in the game. Nova's guards kept trying to take it inside, but their two big men, Johnson and Randolph, were too talented at shot-blocking. It was like they thought they were playing Penn again, where they could go inside at will and score. They should have done more kick-outs to the open man or pull-up for mid-range jumpers. LSU also did a great job guarding the perimeter, as Villanova only attempted 2 threes in the first half. A key part in Nova's comeback was Randolph fouling out with 4 minutes left. With one of the shot blockers out it was easier for Nova to score inside.
Dante Cunningham played a great game and had a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds. He also had 3 blocks, 2 steals, and an assist. He had 8 offensive rebounds. His biggest points of the game were the last two on his put back off of Grant's miss to win the game. That's the 2nd time this season he's had a tip-in to take the lead in the final seconds of the game, although they wound up losing to NC St. Casiem Drummond, coming off the bench for the first time this season, had a great first half scoring 10 of Villanova's 24 points. He was able to use his size and strength to score down low, but he saw limited playing time in the 2nd half. Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher had horrible shooting nights, both going 1-8 from the field and 0-1 for three. Reynolds did contribute in other ways, grabbing 8 rebounds, 3 steals, and dishing 3 assists, to go with his season-low 4 points. Fisher had some amazing drives but tried to be too fancy and wound up missing a lot of difficult shots. He finished with 2 points and 3 assists. Antonio Pena got the start over Drummond. He only played 12 minutes but showed some flashes and scored 4 points. Reggie Redding also struggled shooting going 3-13, but he did have 8 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals. In his first game back from injury Shane Clark was back in the starting lineup and had 6 points and 8 rebounds. He didn't take many shots and went 3-5 (0-1 3-pt). Corey Stokes played 9 minutes off the bench and failed to score, but had an assist and rebound.
So the big story of the game was Malcolm Grant taking over in the final minutes and just refusing to lose. The carried the team to an unprobable victory. The game appeared to be over, but Malcolm and the Wildcats played the full 40 minutes and it payed off. Up next for Villanova is at Temple on Sunday.