Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Villanova at #21 Pitt

Final Score: Pittsburgh 69, Villanova 57

Player of the Game: Scottie Reynolds, 26 pts, 6 reb, 4 ast

Recap: Villanova lost its third game in a row for the first time since the 2003-2004 season when they dropped five straight. Once again Villanova started out flat and fell behind quickly, but their defense kept them in the game, and they cut the deficit to six at halftime. The Wildcats led by Scottie Reynolds took a one point lead around the 13 minute mark in the second half, but then Pitt went on a 24-8 run to grab the victory. Jay Wright showed the willingness to switch up his rotation by benching Shane Clark for most of the game, only playing 3 minutes. However, Dwayne Anderson took most of his minutes, instead of Malcolm Grant. The continued lack of playing time for Grant has been the most frustrating part of this losing streak. The Wildcats are undefeated (7-0) in games that Grant has played 19 or more minutes. Tonight Malcolm only played 8 minutes, most of those coming at the end of the game when it was too late to come back anyway. I can understand Jay wanting to go with a bigger lineup that is better defensively, but clearly that is not working. So why not say the heck with it and throw Reynolds, Fisher, and Grant out on the floor together. It would be one thing if they were losing close games, but they way they have been getting blown out recently, it is apparent that major changes are needed, and I think it starts with Malcolm Grant getting the playing time he deserves.

Scottie Reynolds had a strong game scoring 26 points on 9-15 shooting, but he didn't get much help. The only other Wildcat in double figures was Antonio Pena who had a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards, but he was a miserable 4-15 from the field. Reynolds shot 60% from the floor, but the rest of the team shot 29% for the game. Corey Stokes has had a couple of good shooting nights, but was 0-5 tonight and is shooting 25.5% from three for the season. Grant should be playing more for several reasons, but mostly because of his 3-point shooting. At 53.2% he is by far our most accurate shooter from behind the arc. Neither Dwayne Anderson, Reggie Redding, or Stokes contributed much offensively, but neither did Corey Fisher and Dante Cunningham who both average 10+ points per game. It was a good sign to see Casiem Drummond back in action, but I still don't think he's back to 100%. He looked soft going up to the basket getting his lay-up blocked, when he should up went up strong and dunked the ball.

On a side note I half to congratulate Tyrell Biggs on a game well-played. He is from my hometown of Nanuet, NY and I played with him in Little League and CYO basketball at St. Anthony's. He had 14 points and 4 rebounds in tonight's game. He was dominant back then, it's good to see him playing well in the Big East.

Next Game: Sat. Feb. 2 at Noon, vs. Syracuse, at the Wachovia Center

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Foye is Back

After missing the entire season due to a stress reaction in his knee, Randy Foye played in his first game back tonight in Chicago. Foye had a good showing in limited minutes off the bench. He had 11 points in 18 minutes on 4-8 shooting (1-3 3P, 2-2 FT). He also had 2 assists, 1 rebound, 1 steal, and 1 turnover. However, the Minnesota Timberwolves fell to the Bulls 96-85. Foye scored in a hurry during the short period of time he was on the floor. He was successful driving to the basket as well as hitting the outside shot. Coming off of a long injury, the T'wolves will probably take their time working him back into the rotation, but eventually he will take the starting point guard position from Sebastian Telfair.

Lowry as a Starter

Kyle Lowry had another solid performance despite the loss to Dallas last night in his third career start, scoring 17 points to go with 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, and 0 turnovers. He got to the free throw line an impressive 14 times, but uncharacteristically made only 6. Take a look at his season splits. As a starter, this season Lowry is averaging 17.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1.33 steals, and only 1.7 turnovers in 47.0 minutes per game. Off the bench Lowry is averaging 7.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 0.98 steals, and 1.6 turnovers in 22.7 minutes per game. As expected, his productivity in scoring, assists, and rebounding jump up when given the playing time, but surprisingly, his turnover rate remains at the same respectably low rate, which is most impressive for the young point guard.


It appears red-shirt freshman Andrew Ott will be transferring to Penn State.

From Mike Jensen of the Philadelphia Inquirer: "Multiple people I respect ...Consider Memphis to be the front-runner for American Christian star Tyreke Evans, and thought that was true before the legal events of the last two months in Chester."

Randy Foye participated in a scrimmage the other day at practice and is nearing a return.

Post-game audio from the Notre Dame loss. When asked if he wished he had gotten Malcolm Grant involved earlier in the game, Jay Wright kind of dodged the question with his response: "It's tough sometimes because McAlarney was shooting over Scottie early... We put Reggie Redding on him... He did a good job for a while, and then you're not as good offensively, but Reggie did a good job defensively."

Chad Forde did a nice breakdown of the Big East on On Villanova he wrote, "A penchant for slow starts has caught up with Nova. This looks like an NIT team."

Joe Lunardi has Villanova in the "next four out" column in his Bracketology. He currently has eight Big East teams making the Big Dance.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Similarities to UConn last year

This Villanova team's season has been somewhat similar to UConn's last season, and I have to admit when I first saw Villanova's schedule, I was afraid this would happen. Both teams received a lot of preseason hype and were ranked in the top 25. They both had relatively easy non-conference schedules with no true road games. During their non-conference schedules' they rose through the rankings and everybody thought they were better than they actually were. However, when the Big East season started, they struggled and came back down to earth. UConn last season and Villanova this season may be viewed as disappointments, but the fact is they were/are extremely young teams, made up of mostly freshmen and sophomores. I think Villanova is a better team than UConn last season, as Nova already has solid wins, such as Pitt, that UConn never had last season. The good news is that UConn is starting to come together this season. They upset Indiana and nearly beat Georgetown both on the road. UConn wound up 6-10 in conference play last season and 17-14 overall after starting 11-0. Villanova should finish better than that. They will most likely finish right around .500 in the conference and should have at least 20 wins overall. UConn failed to make the NIT, but I think Villanova will at least get an NIT bid, if not the NCAA tournament. Villanova might have some frustrating games this season, but the future looks bright.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Lowry Scores 21 in OT Victory

Kyle Lowry got the start with Mike Conley injured again, and he came up big in Memphis' 125-120 overtime victory over the L.A. CLippers. Lowry had a career-high 21 points to go along with 8 rebounds and 4 assists in 49 minutes of action. He was 7-12 from the field and also 7-12 from the free throw line. Most impressively he only had one turnover while running the point almost the entire night. He had the go ahead basket with about 25 seconds left in overtime with a putback after getting an offensive rebound off of Hakim Warrick's missed jumper. Lowry is proving that he can start in this league ,and more importantly, finish games and help lead his team to victory. Lowry played against another former Villanova star Tim Thomas of the Clippers. Thomas had 23 points (10-13 FG, 2-2 3-pt) and 8 rebounds but fouled out late in overtime.

#18 Villanova vs. Notre Dame

Final Score: Notre Dame 90, Villanova 80

Player of the Game: Kyle McAlarney, 30 pts, 5 ast

Villanova Player of the Game
: Antonio Pena, 17 pts, 9 reb, 3 ast

Recap: Villanova lost its second straight and had its first home loss of the season to drop to 3-4 in the Big East and 13-5 overall. They came out with a little more energy today and once again tried to make a late-game comeback but fell short. The loss should put Villanova out of the top 25 for the first time this season. Irish guard Kyle McAlarney lit it up, making five 3-pointers en route to his 30 points. Forward Luke Harangody had a dominating presence inside with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Nova could have really used Casiem Drummond today to help contain Harangody. I was happy to see Corey Fisher back in the starting lineup and he had a decent game, scoring 13 points, but he had a few unlucky bounces off the rim to finish 5-15 from the field. However, I was unhappy that Fisher's playing time came at the expense of Malcolm Grant. Grant didn't enter the game until late in the first half for a brief period of time, then later in the second half. I don't understand why Jay Wright won't give him more playing time. I've got to think that Grant is starting to become frustrated as well for his his lack of minutes. He once again tried to lead a comeback making two 3-pointers to finish with 8 points. Looking back on the season the only game where Villanova really played good basketball for the entire game was vs. Pitt, which not coincidently was the only game where Malcolm Grant played from start to finish.

Scottie Reynolds had another poor shooting performance, going 0-5 from 3-point land and finishing with 13 points. He struggled on the other end of the floor as well, looking lost on defense at times. The team seems to live and die with Scottie Reynolds. If he's on target, the Wildcats will win; if he's not, they lose, and that's been the case all season. That's a tough burden for a sophomore to carry, which is why he needs help from his teammates, especially upperclassmen like Shane Clark. For the third straight game Shane Clark scored only two points, coming off a tip-in. He doesn't even look to shoot the ball anymore, but at least Jay cut his minutes down to 14 and gave some extra to Corey Stokes. Corey Stokes shot the ball well, going 3-6 for three and had a career high 11 points. Antonio Pena had a great game down low for the Wildcats with 17 points and 11 rebounds, but got into foul trouble, picking up his fourth early in the second half. He needs to learn how to stay aggressive but avoid fouls because his post scoring is desperately needed. Dante Cunningham fouled out with a below average 7 points and 5 rebounds. The team as a whole committed 28 personal fouls, giving up 38 free throws to Notre Dame, while Villanova only had 12 attempts. Reggie Redding had a decent game with 7 points and 6 rebounds. Dwayne Anderson had 2 points off the bench. Redshirt Freshman Andrew Ott wasn't in the building today, and word is that he plans to transfer.

This is a very young Villanova team, and growing pains such as this should be expected. There are plenty of Big East games remaining with opportunities to beat marquee opponents such as Pitt, Louisville, Marqutte, and Georgetown. These were two tough back-to-back losses, but not all hope is lost for an NCAA bid. Fans should keep in mind how young this team is and remember how Allan Ray, Randy Foye, and Curtis Sumpter struggled in their first two seasons.

Next Game: Wed. Jan. 30, 7:00 PM at Pitt

Lowry gets double-double

Kyle Lowry had a career-high 10 assists to go along with his 13 points for the Memphis Grizzlies in their loss to the Washington Wizards. Starting point guard Mike Conley left the game early in the third quarter with a contusion in his right chest and rib cage. Lowry took over and helped lead a Memphis comeback in the second half, but it was too little, too late as the Grizzlies lost 104-93. Lowry also added 5 steals and 4 rebounds in his 34 minutes of action for an all-around great performance. Once again Kyle proved that when he gets the minutes, he contributes.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

#18 Villanova at Rutgers

Final Score: Rutgers 80, Villanova 68

Player of the Game: Malcolm Grant 23 points (6-7 3-pt)

I don't know why Jay Wright waited until the last 3 minutes of the game to put his three best players on the court at the same time: Scottie Reynolds, Malcolm Grant, and Corey Fisher. As soon as Grant re-entered the game he put on an amazing performance, reminiscent of the LSU game, scoring 17 points in about 2 minutes. But by that time it was too little, too late. Simply put, Grant and Fisher need more playing time. Jay Wright seems to want to go with a bigger and more experience lineup, but players like Shane Clark, Dwayne Anderson, and Reggie Redding are not getting it done, especially on the offensive end. Villanova went for a long stretch in the second half where they failed to even attempt a field goal due to turnovers and blocked shots. As a team you need to maximize your strengths, and Villanova's strengths are its quickness, depth, and offense. But Jay Wright is taking away those strengths with the lineups he is putting on the floor. In years past Wright has been a guy that put his best players on the floor, regardless of height or position, as evidenced by the 4-guard lineup in 2005-2006. I can't understand why he won't do that now. Sure these guards are freshmen and sophomores and have much less experience, but right now the experienced players aren't playing well anyway. This is a team that should be running up and down the floor and scoring in the 90s. A lineup of Reynolds, Fisher, Grant, Pena, and Cunningham may not be as good defensively, but it wouldn't matter how many points they give up if they outscore their opponents, which they should with all those offensive weapons.

The team as a whole only had 5 assists in the game, which is horrible for a team with 3 great point guards. Reynolds had a horrible shooting night going 5-19 from the field and 1-9 for three, and finished with 16 points. When he's having an off shooting night Reynolds needs to defer to his teammates and collect more than 2 assists. Reynolds has carried the team to victory several times, but when he's having a bad night, Jay Wright needs to give the ball to Grant or Fisher. Malcolm Grant got the start, but disappeared for most of the game until the final 3 minutes, when he was on fire. Dante Cunningham had a below-average game scoring 9 points and only grabbing 4 rebounds. Antonio Pena had a rough night scoring 0 points, although he did collect 8 rebounds. They went to Pena in the post early in the game and he made some good moves, but failed to make the baskets. Shane Clark's play lately is getting to the point where it's hurting the team. He only had 2 points and 2 rebounds in 24 minutes of play. I know he can play better because I've seen him do it in the past, but if he can't step it up, he needs a significant reduction in his minutes. Corey Fisher only played 15 minutes, and it seemed like even less than that. It's unacceptable to kept you're second leading scorer on the bench that long for no apparent reason. Corey Stokes seemed to be inspired by his return to his home state of New Jersey by breaking out of his shooting slump to make three 3-pointers. They were all in the first half however, and he failed to get any open looks in the second half. Anderson and Redding combined for 3 points and 26 minutes.

Villanova cannot continue to have lapses like this and expect to make the NCAA tournament. Big East road victories are hard to come by this season, and this game was perhaps Villanova's easiest opportunity against the previously 0-6 Scarlet Knights. Hopefully the Cats will rebound with a strong performance at home this weekend against Notre Dame.

Next Game: Sat. Jan. 26, 12:00 pm, vs. Notre Dame at the Wachovia Center

Monday, January 21, 2008

Lowry Update

Kyle Lowry has had a drop in production since the return of rookie point guard Mike Conley Jr. from injury. Conley took over the starting point guard role from Damon Stoudamire, who is rumored to be close to a buy-out with the Grizzlies. After a very strong start to the season, Lowry has failed to score in double figures for 11 straight games since the return of Conley. He is averaging 3.9 points in the month of January, down from his November average of 10.5 and December average of 8.7 points per game. His rebounding numbers have also been cut in half, from 4.4 to 2.0. He is still averaging about 3 assists per game in January, close to his average of 4 earlier in the season. This is most likely a result of his drop in minutes from 26 per game earlier in the season, to 17 minutes per game in January. It will be interesting to see if Lowry is involved in some kind of trade to a team desperate for a young point guard. It's clear that Memphis sees Conley as their PG of the future. Although Memphis would probably prefer to keep Kyle because he would be a great back-up. Since his return, Conley is averaging 10.0 points, 5.3 assists, and 3.2 rebounds in the month of January.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

#21 Villanova at Syracuse

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

Thursday, January 17, 2008

#21 Villanova vs. DePaul

Score: Villanova 76, DePaul 69

Player of the Game: Antonio Pena, 17 points, 9 rebounds

Recap: Jay Wright switched up the starting lineup in tonight's game opting for Malcolm Grant and Antonio Pena instead of Reggie Redding and Corey Fisher. It didn't seem to work at first, as the Wildcats struggled immensely in the first half, trailing by 16 at one point. DePaul was hitting 3 pointer after 3 pointer and the calls weren't going Nova's way either. The Wildcats were able to cut the deficit to 9 at halftime. The second half was a completely different story. Nova came out energized and used a late 15-0 run to pull away and secure the victory. The comeback was fueled in a large part to Antonio Pena who had 14 second half points and 17 total. He may be Villanova's best offensive post player in years. He proved that he deserves that spot in the starting lineup and Jay Wright might leave him there after this performance. Scottie Reynolds had another great performance scoring 21 points, including a game clinching 3-pointer. He also dished out 3 assists. Dante Cunningham had his fourth double-double of the season with 14 points and 13 rebounds. The Wildcats out-rebounded DePaul 43-20. Malcolm Grant had a decent game in his first start with 7 points and 4 assists, but picked up quick fouls, limiting his playing time. Shane Clark had 7 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, but he had a rough night shooting the ball going 1-7 from the field and 0-3 from behind the arc. Corey Fisher and Reggie Redding only played 4 and 5 minutes each, and had virtually no impact on the game. Freshman Corey Stokes had one of his best games of the season with 7 points, 4 rebounds, and an assist. He played 25 minutes, and you could see that he was a lot more confident out there. He may start to play a larger factor the rest of the season. Dwayne Anderson had 1 point in 12 minutes. In his short time he pick up 3 personal fouls. Casiem Drummond made a brief appearance for 3 minutes in the first half, but he is not 100% healthy yet.

Next Game: Sat. Jan. 19, Noon at Syracuse on ESPN

Saturday, January 12, 2008

#17 Villanova at Cincinnati

Score: Cincinnati 69, Villanova 66

Player of the Game: Scottie Reynolds, 32 pts (5-11 3-pt)

Recap: I can't give much of a recap because I was unable to watch the game because I don't get ESPNU. The lead went back and forth all game, but Villanova was unable to pull through at the end. Corey Fisher had a chance to tie the game after he got fouled with 6 seconds left, but he missed the front end of the one and one. After DePaul got the rebound they were fouled and made the first free throw, but missed the second. Shane Clark got the rebound passed to Scottie Reynolds, who dribbled down court, pump faked and had a decent look for three to tie the game but was too strong and hit the back rim at the buzzer. The Wildcats lost, moving to 1-2 in the Big East, but a positive note was the play of Scottie Reynolds. He finally broke out of his shooting slump, and did so in a big way. He scored a season-high 32 points, but came up 3 short in the end.

Next Game: Wed. 9:00 PM vs. DePaul in the Pavilion

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

2008 NBA All-Star Voting

Here are my picks for the 2008 NBA All-Star game.

PG - Chris Paul
SG - Kobe Bryant
SF - Carmelo Anthony
PF - Tim Duncan
C - Amare Stoudamire

PG - Jason Kidd
SG - Dwyane Wade
SF - LeBron James
PF - Kevin Garnett
C - Dwight Howard

It's tough leaving Steve Nash out, but Chris Paul has been having an amazing season and is a possible MVP candidate. The West is stocked with great guards. Allen Iverson, Baron Davis, Tony Parker, Deron Williams, and Brandon Roy are all having great seasons and are all star worthy.

You can vote at

Foye Cleared For Workouts

Randy Foye has been out all season with an injured left knee, but was cleared by doctors today to participate in more strenuous workouts. It will still take some time for Foye to get back in game shape, but this is a good sign. The Minnesota Timberwolves are struggling without him with a league worst 4-29 record. The playoffs are pretty much out of the question, but Randy will definitely help lead the T-Wolves to some more victories in the second half of the season. I predicted this would be a breakout year for Foye, and although the injury has delayed him, I think he'll put up some good numbers later this season.

#16 Villanova vs #13 Pittsburgh

Score: Villanova 64, Pitt 63
Player of the Game: Malcolm Grant 22 pts, 4-7 3-pt

Recap: Villanova overcame Pittsburgh by one point in a thriller at the Pavilion behind Malcolm Grant's stellar performance. Grant took over, remenisicent of the LSU game. He led all scorers with 22 points, hitting big shot after big shot. He brings so much energy and seems to really feed off of the crowd. When the fans were cheering the loudest, he came through by making a big 3-pointer. From this and the LSU game it is clear that Grant is a clutch performer and flat-out winner, which begs questions about Corey Fisher. Fisher had only 4 points and 1 assist against Pitt and only had 2 points against LSU, while his best games have come in Villanova losses: 21 points vs. NC St. and 23 points vs. DePaul. It may be too early to tell, but I hope Fisher isn't one of those players who puts up great stats, but can't lead his team to victory.

In the end turnovers were the cause of Pitt's downfall. They had 22 turnovers in the game, which was due in a lagre part to the injury of point guard Levance Fields. No Villanova starter scored in double figures, and the continued struggles of Scottie Reynolds are somewhat puzzling. Reynolds was held to 4 points on 1-6 shooting (0-5 3-pt), although he did have 4 assists, and made the pass to Dante Cunningham which led to the foul call and the winning free throws. Reynolds seems to have lost some confidence shooting the ball. He seemed to hesitate and pump fake the ball way too many times, instead of trusting his stroke and releasing quickly. I'm sure he'll grow out of this funk, but let's just hope it's sooner than later. Dante Cunningham stayed calm under pressure to make the tying and winning free throws. He had a quiet offensive night with only 6 points, but he cleaned up the glass with a team high 9 rebounds. Once again the absence of Casiem Drummond was felt, as the Wildcats had difficulty in containing DeJuan Blair who finished with 12 points and 15 rebounds, 7 of them offensive. Antonio Pena stepped up in a big way scoring 12 points off the bench, and was the only other Villanova player to score in double figures. He also had 4 rebounds and 3 steals, including the big steal in the final seconds to secure victory. Pena may have earned himself more playing time, especially with the continued struggles of Shane Clark who had 7 points, 3 rebounds in the game. I though he deserved it after the LSU game, but now Malcolm Grant will definitely see more minutes. He is the team's best 3-point shooter at 55%. He probably won't start, but will be a key sixth man because of the energy and scoring he brings into the game.

Next Game: Sat. January 12, 7:00 PM at Cincinnati

#16 Villanova at DePaul

Score: DePaul 84, Villanova 76
Player of the Game: Corey Fisher, 23 pts, 2 ast

Recap: The DePaul Blue Demons upset The Villanova Wildcats in both team's Big East openers. DePaul took an early lead and Nova had a difficult time catching up. Villanova had a horrible night shooting the ball and went 1-11 from behind the arc in the first half. They had too many careless turnovers. Fisher led a Villanova comeback that cut the lead to 4, but after he was taken out of the game with 4 fouls with about 3 minutes left in the game, DePaul quickly went on a run to extend the lead back to double digits. I think Jay Wright should have left Fisher in the game. He was the only Wildcat that could score that night, and there was really no point in saving him with so little time left in the game. Villanova committed 2 crucial turnovers, that likely wouldn't have happened if Fisher was still in the game running the point. Casiem Drummond's absence was felt as Nova had no one to contain DePaul's big man Wesley Green. Scottie Reynolds struggled throughout the game and finished with 11 points and 5 assists. It seemed like Villanova was passing up too many open three's, and later settled for more difficult shots. A team with great shooters like Villanova shouldn't hesitate to shoot threes when their open. They may have lost some confidence after going 1-11 in the first half, but many of those threes were difficult shots, as opposed to the open shots they should be taking. This was Villanova's first Big East game of the season and only the third against a major conference school, and they have struggled in all three games. They lost by one point to NC State, were dominated for most of the game by LSU before the miraculous comeback, and now lost to a DePaul team who came in with a 4-7 record. The Wildcats will need to toughen up and play better defense to compete in the Big East this year.

Next Game: Sunday January 6, Noon vs. Pitt

#16 Villanova vs. LaSalle

Score: Villanova 71, La Salle 58
Players of the Game: Corey Fisher 18 points, 5 assists; Scottie Reynolds 19 pts

Recap: On December 29 Villanova cruised past La Salle at the Pavilion by a score of 71-58, to extend their Big 5 win streak to 14 games. La Salle stayed competitive, keeping the deficit around ten points throughout the game. The dynamic duo of Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher led the Wildcats with 19 and 18 points respectively. Both shot the ball well and went perfect from the free throw line. Reynolds added 3 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals, while Fisher had 5 assists. Once again Fisher Price wowed the crowd with his fancy ballhandling and acrobatic drives to the basket. When Reynolds and Fisher are at the top of their games, Nova is very difficult to beat. Dante Cunningham recorded another double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds, although he did foul out late in the second half. Reggie Redding had a quiet night, only attempting one field goal and making it to finish with 3 points. Shane Clark was also quiet on the offensive end scoring 6 points on 3-4 shooting , but he had a good defensive effort with 6 rebounds, 3 steals, and a blocked shot. With Casiem Drummond still injured Antonio Pena saw extra minutes off the bench and had 6 points and 2 rebounds in 15 minutes. Dwayne Anderson picked earned some more playing time as well and showed great hustle. He finished with 4 points, 2 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, ans a block in 18 minutes of action. Freshmen Malcolm Grant and Corey Stokes played just 10 minutes each. Grant had 3 points, while Stokes was scoreless.

Next Game: Thurs. January 3, 9:00 PM at DePaul