Final Score: Villanova 82, Syracuse 63
Player of the Game: Scottie Reynolds 22 pts, 6 ast
Recap: This was a huge victory for the Wildcats. There are conflicting opinions on whether or not Villanova will be in the NCAA tournament with this win alone, but they definitely improved their chances. The manner in which they won was also impressive. Syracuse got out to a quick eleven-point lead in the first half, and Donte Greene seemed unstoppable. However, Villanova was able to claw their way back into the game and pulled within one at halftime with a Dwayne Anderson three. Then Villanova came out and dominated the second half 55-35, fueled by a barrage of 3-pointers. Nova shot 11-21 (52.4%) for the game from behind the arc.
Now let's get on to the awards...
The Steve Nash Award for Best Point Guard
... goes to Scottie Reynolds. Reynolds has a knack for stepping up in big games, and he did just that today, scoring 22 points. He also had six assists, his most since December 14 vs. Hartford, and zero turnovers in 34 minutes. He handled the point most of the game, leaving Corey Fisher on the bench. He seems to play better with the ball in his hands. Scottie made 4-7 threes, including a fade-away three that would have impressed even Kevin Pittsnogle.
The AT&T Award for Long-distance Call of the Day
... goes to Corey Stokes. He made four of eight 3-pointers, including a couple from well beyond the NBA line. Stokes matched his career-high with 18 points, and he added 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. He is shooting 36.8% from 3-point range in Big East play.
The Bank Job award for Thief of Game
... goes to Dwayne Anderson for his 4 steals. Dwayne had another great game for the Wildcats with 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists. He made three of four 3-pointers as well.
The Charles Barkley Award for Rebounder of the Game
... goes to Dante Cunningham who co-led the team with 7 boards. Villanova dominated the glass in the game, outrebounding the Orange 40-27. Dante added 13 points for the Wildcats.
The Energizer Bunny Award for Energizing Performance
... goes to Shane Clark. Shane seems to have recovered from whatever sickness he was suffering from during the season. He scored in double figures for the third straight games. Clark had 11 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, and 1 steal. His energy helped him grab 5 offensive rebounds, including a big one-handed put-back slam. Had Shane been able to play at this level all season, Villanova probably wouldn't have to worry about being on the bubble at this point.
Next Game: Tues. March 13, 12:00 pm, vs. #1 seed Georgetown