Final Score: Villanova 81, Syracuse 71
Player of the Game: Scottie Reynolds, 25 pts, 6 reb, 4 stl
Recap: Villanova won it's first true road game of the season in one of the toughest places to play in the country at the Carrier Dome versus Syracuse. It was a close game throughout with a couple of lead changes, but Villanova was able to pull away towards the end. Both teams struggled with turnovers, committing 19 each. Scottie Reynolds was in top form. He had 25 points on 4-7 from 3, and added 6 rebounds, 4 steals, and 2 assists. He was an impressive 9-10 from the free-throw line. Syracuse has a very young team, led by two freshmen Johnny Flynn and Donte Greene. But with the youth and inexperience, comes mistakes. Greene and Onuaku got in to early foul trouble, and Greene fouled out with about 5 minutes left. Flynn tried to pick up the slack scoring 23 points, but it wasn't enough.
Jay wright went with the same starting lineup as the previous game: Reynolds, Grant, Clark, Pena, and Cunningham. Despite playing with the flu, Dante Cunningham had a great game. He had 14 points on 6-8 shooting and grabbed a team high 8 rebounds. Pena's time was limited because of foul trouble but he played some great low-post offense, scoring 9 points and grabbing 4 boards in 19 minutes. Malcolm Grant had some early misses, and Jay Wright didn't use him much later in the game. He had no points and 2 assists in 10 minutes of action. Once again Shane Clark struggled offensively going 1-9 from the field and 0-3 for three. He did contribute in other ways with 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block. Corey Fisher had a great game for the Wildcats off the bench. He had 15 points and 3 assists in 18 minutes, and like Reynolds was 9-10 from the free-throw line. I think it's time to move Fisher back into the starting lineup in place of Grant. I think Grant is better off the bench. Grant seems to struggle on the road. I think he plays better at home because he feeds off the energy of the crowd. Conversely Fisher has had his best games on the road, which is interesting. Reggie Redding came off the bench again but this time he got back to playing his usual amount of minutes. He only had 5 points, but Redding is in there for his defense and he did a good job at that. He had 3 steals and 3 blocks. Dwayne Anderson played well, adding 9 points and 6 rebounds. He knocked down two big 3-pointers, his first two of the season. He still looks a little shaky with the ball at times, but he is starting to out-perform Shane Clark. Until he breaks out of his shooting slump, Anderson may deserve to get some more playing time than Clark. Casiem Drummond was sidelined again with his ankle injury. Andrew Ott made a rare appearance, grabbing 1 rebound and committing a foul in his 3 minutes of play.
Coming off a good game versus DePaul, Corey Stokes had a disappointing effort. He had 2 points and 2 rebounds in 12 minutes of action. He was 0-4 for three. He was heralded as a great shooter coming out of high school, but when you're struggling like he has, you need to find other ways to score. He did that on one play where he had a nice drive to the basket, and he should be doing more of that. Jay Wright should take away his green light for shooting threes temporarily at least and make him drive to the basket and take mid-range shots. He is a talented player, but it seems like he thinks, because he's playing the shooting guard position, he needs to shoot only 3-pointers. He needs to find other ways to score right now, and that will boost his confidence and hopefully help him regain his long-range shot.
Next Game: Wed. Jan. 23, 7:00 PM at Rutgers