Thursday, February 26, 2009

Nova Escapes DePaul With Win

Final Score: #12 Villanova 74, DePaul 72

Player of the Game: Scottie Reynolds - 18 pts, 6 reb, 1 ast, 2 stl

Recap: Villanova escaped Chicago with a win over DePaul in a game that was a lot closer than anyone predicted. The scoring was a bit erratic, with DePaul jumping out to 7 point lead, then Nova coming back to take a 5 point advantage, and DePaul closing out the first half up by 8 points, 33-25. Nova appeared to have their act together in the second half, coming back to take a 12 point lead, but a late DePaul charge pulled the Demons to within 2, until Scottie Reynolds took over and helped seal the deal.

A win's a win, and I'll take it, especially on the road in the Big East. However, almost losing to a winless Big East team is alarming. Nova had trouble with DePaul's 6'10, 255 lb. center, Mac Koshwal. He had a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds, and he caused Cunningham and Clark to get into some foul trouble. He exposed one of Villanova's greatest weaknesses, their undersized and undermanned frontcourt. Their other weakness is perimeter defense, which Will Walker exploited in this game, hitting 6 of 11 threes to score 23 points. Although, Nova did a better job containing DePaul's other perimeter threats, Dar Tucker and Jeremiah Kelly, holding both to poor shooting percentages (3-18 3PT combined). Nova needs to sharpen up in those areas quickly because talented big men (Greg Monroe, Luke Harangody) and sharpshooters (DaJuan Summers, Kyle McAlarney) are lurking on the horizon.

Scottie Reynolds and Dante Cunningham co-led the team with 18 points. The two Coreys had good games off the bench (Fisher-12 points, Stokes-10), but both could have seen more time on the court. (More on that later...) Reggie Redding had another solid all-around game: 9 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists. Reggie's not a big scorer, but his good rebounding and assist rates probably make him Nova's player with the best chance to record a triple-double. Starters Shane Clark and Dwayne Anderson both struggled, scoring 2 points each. Anderson may have been riding too high off of his 22 point outburst; he was 0-6 from downtown in this one. Clark, the offensive rebounding specialist, had zero o. boards. Villanova's starting 3-man frontcourt was actually out-rebounded by the starting 2-man backcourt, 15-13. Antonio Pena rounded out the rotation with a decent 3 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists in 14 minutes off the bench.

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