Anderson Beats Buzzer, Marquette to Set Up Semifinal Matchup with Louisville
Final Score:Villanova76, Marquette 75
Player of the Game: Scottie Reynolds - 21 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals
Recap: Villanovaplayed its best half of the season, taking a 16 point lead into thelocker room. It looked like the loss of Dominic James was too much for Marquette to handle. But thenthat happened. Nova got a little too comfortable with the big lead, and Marquette started sinking some 3-pointers. I'm not even sure how it happened, but suddenly Nova was down by one with only 40 seconds remaining. Corey Stokes almost blewVillanova'schances with a travel, but a great defensive effort on the other end left Nova with one more chance. ReggieReddingdribbled around the top of the key for what seemed like an eternity, then found a wide open Dwayne Anderson under the basket for a layup that bounced around on the rim about twenty times before dropping in just as the buzzer sounded. Dwayne Anderson was having a very quiet night. He only had 2 points and 4 rebounds, but he turned out to be the hero for Villanovaon this day.
Scottie Reynolds had a great first half, scoring anefficient18 points, half of which came from the free throw line. However, he only scored 3 points in the second half to finish 5-13 from the field. His cold touch in second half was part of the reason for Nova's collapse. I have to commend him for his toughness on the boards. He grabbed a team-high 8 rebounds and battled for a couple more that resulted in Marquette fouls.
Corey Stokes picked up the slack in the second half by scorching the nets from all over. He scored 20 points on 6-9fg, 3-6 3pt, and 5-5 ft. His only mistake was the travel, but luckily it didn't costVillanovathe game.
Dante Cunningham struggled to find his shot throughout the game, only scoring 7 points on 3-10 shooting. Marquette really made an effort to deny him the mid-range jumper that Dante has been so lethal with. He also had an uncharacteristically low 2 rebounds and battled foul trouble, finishing with 4 personals in 25 minutes.
Corey Fisher had a nice game off the bench: 8 points, 5 assists, 1 turnover. He had a few plays for the highlight reel including a one-handed shovel pass on the break to Scottie Reynolds for an easy layup, an alley-oopdish to Dante Cunningham, and he went coast-to-coast finishing with a spin move to beat the first half buzzer. Corey is clearly not afraid of the spotlight.
Double R had a typical "ReggieReddinggame": 8 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block. He obviously played an integral part in the winning basket by setting up Dwayne with the pass. Shane Clark had a solid game with 6 points and 6 rebounds, 4 coming on the offensive glass. Antonio Pena also contributed on the boards with 6 rebounds to go with his 2 points.
On the Marquette end, Villanova was able to force their two star guards, Jerel McNeal (4-17 fg) and Wesley Matthews (1-10 fg) into poor shooting performances. Although, they were able to finish with 15 and 11 points respectively. Nova had trouble in the paint with Jimmy Butler, who went 13-16 from the free throw line off the bench. Dominic James' replacement, Maurice Acker, made a valient effort, going 3-4 from downtown to score 12 points. Speaking of James, was it really necessary to keep a camera on him the entire game? I feel like I saw his face more than I saw actual game footage.
Next Game: Louisville, 7:00 PM, on ESPN
Ever since that heartbreaking loss to Louisville at theWachoviaCenter, I've been hoping for a rematch with the Cardinals. NowVillanovagets their chance. Louisville cruised to a 73-55 win over Providence in the game just before Nova's near collapse. The Marquette game should serve as awake upcall toVillanova, reminding them that they need to play a full forty minutes. I think this close-call will help Nova gear up for the #1 seeded Cardinals. If Cunningham can bounce back, Reynolds can play a full game, Stokes stays hot from three, Fisher plays in control, andReddingand Anderson stay tough on defense,Villanovacan pull the upset. They already proved they could play with this team, and I'm sure that watching the videotape from the crushing defeat on January 10 will make the Wildcats hungry for revenge.