Player of the Game: A.J. Abrams: 26 pts, 4 ast
Recap: Villanova lost its first game of the season last night to #6 Texas at Madison Square Garden.
What happened to all the balanced scoring? The only Wildcat to show up last night (besides Stephen Curry) was Dante Cunningham. Dante had a huge double-double with 23 points and 12 rebounds, but he couldn't carry the team by himself.
Scottie Reynolds had somewhat decent stats (10 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds), but he played very poorly. He was out of control with the ball and even fell to the floor unprovoked several times. It was really out of character for him. Maybe he was just a little too tired with the late start time (game ended after midnight).
Corey Stokes hit a couple 3-pointers early and had a quick 9 points. It looked like he would have a big game, but he disappeared for the rest of night. He missed 5 threes and didn't scored again until the final minutes to finish with 11 points.
It says in the box score that Corey Fisher played 18 minutes tonight, but I didn't know it by watching the game. He was nonexistent, 0-5 from the field, 0 points, 1 assist. We need more from Fish, especially when Scottie's having a bad night.
I don't know what happened to Antonio Pena. He only played 9 minutes, barely any of them coming in the second half. His only contributions to the game were two missed free throws, two turnovers, and a personal foul. Perhaps there was some kind of health issue keeping off the floor, but Nova really could have used his size in the second half.
Redding, Anderson, and Clark were the three players off the bench to fill out the rotation last night. They received a lot of playing time together in the second half, and I think it cost Villanova the game. Redding and Anderson are two of Nova's best defenders, but the three of them hurt the team on the offensive end. I can't tell you how many open shots they passed up, causing Nova to take bad contested shots late in the shot clock. At least Dwayne Anderson was back from injury, and like last season, was strong on the boards with 9 rebounds.
Villanova out-rebounded Texas 35-31, which is a deceiving stat because Texas got every big rebound, offensive and defensive, late in the second half.
Villanova lost by 9 points and coincidentally missed 9 free throws. The poor free throw shooting really hut Nova, especially considering that they missed several front ends of the 1-and-1.
It was a bad loss, but there are some good things to take from this game. First, despite how poorly Villanova played, they were still right in it until the last couple minutes. Better execution down the stretch and they actually could have won the game. Second, they got valuable experience against a top-ten team, which will pay dividends come Big East play. If this team were playing at its best, which hopefully they will do sooner than later, they definately could have won that game. So even though they lost, it seems as though Nova will be able to hang with the best in the country this year.