Saturday, February 14, 2009
Unlucky Night for #13 Nova on Friday the 13th
Final Score: West Virginia 93, #13 Villanova 72
Player of the Game: Da'Sean Butler - 43 pts, 3 reb, 2 ast
Recap: Lost in hype surrounding Villanova's recent scoring surge was the fact that they gave up an average of 87.3 points the past three games, over 20 points more than their season average. The defense allowed a season-high 93 points vs. WVU and the suddenly cold offense couldn't match. Nova scored only 3 points in the first 7 minutes of the first half. Da'Sean Butler on the otherhand was red hot: 43 points, 12-23 FG, 6-13 3PT, 13-15 FT. After enjoying a couple of 40 point games from Scottie Reynolds the past couple years, it felt weird being on the other side of one. Devin Ebanks was also impressive with 16 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 assists. He had a couple of high-flying dunks, reminds me of Josh Smith.
Dante Cunningham got called for two questionable offensive fouls in the first three minutes of the game. This caused him to sit for the remainder of the first half, while WVU built a lead that was too large to overcome in the second half. Villanova is just not the same team without D.C. Jay should have rolled the dice with him when the game was starting to get out of hand in the first half.
Scottie Reynolds scored 12 points in the first half, but went scoreless in the second and almost scored two for WVU on a deflection. He was 3-11 from the field, had 5 turnovers, only 1 assist, and fouled out in 28 minutes. His scoring has been up lately, but Scottie's had more t.o.'s than dimes over the last six games.
Dwayne Anderson was back in the starting lineup after his knee injury against Marquette. He looked okay (6 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals), but lost his touch from behind the arc where he was 0-3.
The lone bright spot of the game was the stellar play of the two Coreys. They helped the bench to score the same amount of points as the starters (36). Corey Stokes had 15 points and 5 rebounds, hitting 3 of 6 from downtown. Corey Fisher had a team-high 17 points and added 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Fisher Price had one of the most spectacular double-clutch finishes I've seen all year. The other day on Mike Francesa's radio show, Jay Wright mentioned that Corey Fisher is the most creative finisher around the basket since Kyle Lowry. I completely agree.
I guess it's always flattering when an opponent's fans rush the court on you after a game; it means you are a great team and an upset was unexpected. A 21 point loss to an unranked team may seem like an embarrassing loss, but WVU is a much better team than they are given credit for. They are 6-6 in conference play, but they've had a rough schedule so far (Pitt twice, UConn, Louisville), but it gets much easier from here for them. West Virginia is a NCAA Tournament team.