Thursday, February 5, 2009

Nova Fries Friars

Final Score: #16 Villanova 94, Providence 91

Player of the Game: Scottie Reynolds - 31 pts, 6 reb, 2 ast

Recap: Waiting to Exhale
Villanova was up by 20 and it looked like they would coast to an easy victory, but then Providence mounted a "Malcolm Grant vs. LSU-like" comeback and suddenly it was a one point game. Luckily Scottie Reynolds and Dwayne Anderson were clutch at the free throw line to seal the game, but how did that happen? Nova may have gotten a little too comfortable with the lead, but when Sharaud Curry, Jeff Xavier, and Weyinmi Efejuju are draining 40-footers there's really nothing you can do. Providence just caught fire from downtown, hitting 17 of 40 attempts. Nova completely outplayed Providence earlier in the game, but the Friars proved that when their shooters are hot, they are a very dangerous team.

Kobe:61, LeBron:52, Scottie:31
I predicted Scottie Reynolds would have a big scoring night in my preview, and he delivered with 31. It wasn't quite as spectacular as Kobe Bryant and LeBron James' classics at the Garden, but impressive nonetheless. Scottie was on fire early, scoring 10 points in the first couple minutes. He eventually cooled off, hurting his shooting percentage (7-18 FG, 4-11 3PT), and got a big chunk of his points from the free throw line (13-15) in the final minutes of the game.

Triple Double-Double
Not one, not two, but three Wildcats had double-doubles. Dante Cunningham and Reggie Redding both had 12 points and 11 rebounds. Dante was quiet on the offensive end, only attempting five shots and making all of them. He also ended his streak of consecutive games with a blocked shot. However, Redding did record a block; a huge one that spoiled Providence's comeback attempt. Redding had a solid shooting night 6-11, but continued to struggle from behind the arc where he was 0-3. Dwayne Anderson had the big double-double with a season-high 19 points and 10 rebounds. He also added a season-high 5 steals and 2 assists. He was lethal from the corner, hitting three of four 3-pointers, and had a monster dunk towards the end of the game. I loved how he got all over Frank Tchuisi for failing to box out at the end of the first half. It shows the passion that Anderson plays with and how much pride he takes in defense and rebounding. In the Big East, many games are won on toughness, and no one on the team is tougher than Dwayne Anderson.

The Two Coreys
When Corey Fisher entered the game, he picked up right where Scottie Reynolds left off by scoring in bunches. He was aggressive on offense, scoring from the inside and out to finish with 12 points. The only problem was he fouled out in only 16 minutes. A couple of the fouls were foolish, especially the intentional foul (Nova's had a lot of these lately), where he grabbed a Friar from behind on a breakaway. His great play helped Nova grab that 20 point lead, and conversely, his absence played a part in Providence's comeback. Corey Stokes hit one 3-pointer early, but then went oh-for the rest of the game. It was a rare poor shooting night from Stokes, but it happens. It just would have been nice to see him do some other things when his shot isn't falling.

Where's Pena?
Antonio Pena has seemingly disappeared the past four games. After averaging 13 points and 8 rebounds in 31 minutes for a three game stretch, he has dropped to 3.5 points and 1.5 rebounds in 15 minutes in the last four. He had 2 points and 1 rebound in 8 minutes vs. Providence.

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