Monday, February 25, 2008

#21 Marquette defeats Villanova

Final Score: #21 Marquette 85, Villanova 75

Player of the Game: Dominic James 25 pts, 6 stl, 4 ast

Villanova Player of the Game: Dante Cunningham 13 pts, 11 reb, 2 blk, 2 stl, 1 ast

Recap: Villanova led 39-32 at halftime, but Marquette guard Dominic James took over in the second half to lead the Golden Eagles to a 85-75 victory. James had an efficient 25 points on 9-13 from the field, and he made five 3-pointers. I have to give credit Maquette's defense as well. They played scrappy tenacious defense leading to 15 steals and forced a season-high 23 Villanova turnovers. Marquette also played great perimeter defense, holding Nova to 2-15 for three. Marquette on the other hand shot 10-23 from behind the arc. After holding their opponents to an average of 54 points over the past four games, Villanova had a defensive collapse in the second half, giving up 53 points en route to 85 total for the Golden Eagles. In the end, Maquette's experience and toughness overpowered Villanova. This is a very good Marquette team, similar to Villanova's 2005-06 guard-centered team, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them make a deep run in the NCAA tournament.

Some silver linings of the game:
- Corey Fisher had a career-high 8 assists. He also had 10 points and 4 rebounds, but was 5-15 from the field.
- Dante Cunningham had his fifth double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds, but had 6 turnovers.
- Corey Stokes scored in double figures for the fourth straight game with 13 points, but only had 2 points in the second half.
- Scottie Reynolds led the team with 14 points, but was only 1-5 for three. He had 3 assists, but 6 turnovers.
- Dwayne Anderson nearly had a double-double with 8 points and 8 boards. Dwayne also had an amazing put-back dunk off of a Corey Fisher missed lay-up.
- Antonio Pena continues to pass well for a big man. He chipped in 3 assists and 8 points, but he should be grabbing more than 4 rebounds.
- Villanova out-rebounded Marquette 38-26.
- Villanova shot 85% from the free throw line (17-20).

Other thoughts:
- Villanova wore their throwback uniforms for the third straight game, perhaps hoping they would continue their stellar play from the previous two games they wore them. However, with the loss I suspect it will be the last time they wear them this season.
- On the Villanova post-game radio show they compared Corey Fisher to Randy Foye during his first two seasons. Like Randy, Fisher is able to create his own shot whenever he wants to, but he is struggling to make those shots. Foye struggled the same way during his first two seasons at Villanova, but during his junior and senior years those shots began to fall for him. Eventually Corey will learn to make those shots as well, and in a couple of years he, like Randy, could be an All-Big East player.
- This loss is a setback for Villanova's NCAA tournament hopes, but they have a chance for a big road victory this weekend against Louisville. The Cardinals are in my opinion the best team in the Big East, and I expect it to be a hard-fought game in a very tough environment.

Next Game: Sun. March 2, 4:00 pm at #18 Louisville

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