Saturday, March 8, 2008

Nova ends regular season with win over Providence

Final Score: Villanova 73, Providence 63

Player of the Game: Dwayne Anderson 17 pts, 11 reb, 4 ast

Recap: Villanova closed out the regular season tonight with a tough road victory over Providence at the Dunkin Donuts Center. I don't know how anyone can take Providence seriously when their home court is called the Dunkin Donuts Center. Anyway, the win gets Villanova back to .500 in the Big East and 19-11 overall. They are currently tied with Syracuse for eighth in the Big East. Cincinnati and Pitt are still yet to play their season finales, but as it stands now, Villanova would play Syracuse in the 8 vs. 9 game at the Big East Tournament. Nova will most likely need to win at least one game in the Big East Tournament to get an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. The Wildcats and the Orange are both on the bubble, and they split the season series, both winning on the road. The winner will greatly improve their tournament resume, but the loser's bubble may burst.

Villanova was lucky to pull out a victory. Providence had plenty of open looks at 3-pointers, but they couldn't knock them down. The Friars shot 23.8% (5-21) from three on the night. If they were able to make a few of those, it could have been a different story. Villanova wasn't all that much better, shooting 29.6% (8-27). Corey Stokes led the team with three 3-pointers, and they came at crucial moments. Whenever Providence made a run, Stokes hit a three to spoil their comeback. Stokes was second on the team in scoring with 13 points.

Villanova showed more hustle by outrebounding the Friars 37-29. Nova had 11 offensive boards, fueled by Dante Cunningham's 5. Dante had 10 total rebounds to go with his 7 points and 4 assists. Cunningham has lost his touch from the free throw line lately. He was 3-7 tonight and has made only 7 of his last 17.

Dwayne Anderson played 40 minutes and had an all-around fantastic game. He had a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds, and he also dished out 4 assists and had 4 steals. He had a rough night shooting threes (1-7), but was an impressive 8-10 from the free throw line. Dwayne has been Villanova's MVP during the second half of the season. He is willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win, and he understands that scoring isn't necessarily the answer. It starts with defense and rebounding, which are Anderson's strengths.

Scottie Reynolds had another solid game with 10 points and 3 assists. It's good to see that other players can step up and score. Earlier in the season if Scottie didn't led the team with around 20 points, Villanova would most likely lose the game.

Corey Fisher broke his 3-point shooting slump by going 2-3, but those were his only six points on the night. He didn't do a very good job handling the ball. Fisher only had 1 assist and 2 turnovers in his 15 minutes on the floor. Fisher should penetrate and kick out more, rather than rely on the three.

Shane Clark scored in double figures for the second straight game with 10 points. However, most of those points came from free throws in the final minute of the game. He was a perfect 8-8 from the line, but struggled from long range. He was 0-2 for three, and missed one of them badly with a airball that flew over the basket. Shane played pretty good defense all game, and he even had 2 blocked shots.

Antonio Pena had a quiet night. He only played 15 minutes and notched 6 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists in that time. He almost pulled a Shane Clark by missing a dunk right under the basket, but the ball bounced up off the rim then fell back down through the hoop.

Reggie Redding played 19 minutes off the bench and added 4 points and an assist. Malcolm Grant played 2 minutes and failed to score. Grant did have a nice steal where he went diving across the sideline to force the turnover.

Casiem Drummond missed his thirteenth game of the season. He has been on and off since suffering from the stress fracture in his foot back in December.

Next Game: Wed. at Madison Square Garden vs. T.B.A.

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