Final Score: #25 Marquette 79, #13 Villanova 72
Player of the Game: Jerel McNeal: 24 pts, 7 ast
Recap: Villanova lost it's Big East opener to Marquette this afternoon. It was a close game right up until the end, but Marquette's experience paid off as they executed better in the final minutes. Marquette's big four (Matthews, McNeal, James, Hayward) scored 75 of the team's 79 points. Although Villanova lost, there is a lot of good to be taken from the game.
First off, it was a road game in the Big East, where, this season especially, wins will be hard to come across. Nova did a good job staying in the game, giving themselves a chance to win with around five minutes left. Losing a close one on the road to a quality team like Marquette won't hurt too much, but Nova has to take care of business at home.
Corey Fisher had another great game, scoring 21 points. He was most effective driving to the basket, getting to the free throw line 11 times. He made 8, but missed a couple of crucial free throws down the stretch. He only had 1 assist, but to his credit he did make some nice passes to open teammates who just couldn't make their shots.
Dante Cunningham was consistent, finishing right around his averages with 16 points and 8 rebounds. He fouled out late in the game, which was a problem for the entire team. They committed 28 team fouls and had 2 players foul out.
Scottie Reynolds scored 15 points, but he went cold towards the end of the game to finish 6-15 from the field. He missed some easy shots that he normally makes, and had he made them there could have been a different outcome to the game.
Somewhat alarming was the disapearence of Antonio Pena. He only played 7 minutes total. He picked up some early fouls, but Jay elected not to play him later in the game. This most likely had to do with the matchups against Marquette's guards, but let's hope this is not a trend that continues. In Nova's two losses Pena has played a total of only 16 minutes. We need his size especially against the bigger teams in the Big East.