Friday, March 6, 2009
Nova Says Bye Bye to Providence
Final Score: Villanova 97, Providence 80
Player(s) of the Game: Scottie Reynolds - 23 pts, Dwayne Anderson - 19 pts, Dante Cunningham - 19 pts
Recap: Villanova won their 28th straight game in the Pavilion to end the regular season and clinch a double-buy in the Big East Tournament. The game was closer than the final score would indicate, as Nova ran away towards the end of the game by forcing 22 Providence turnovers on 19 steals. Villanova finishes the regular season 25-6, which is exactly how I predicted them to finish before the season began, although I had them going 12-6 in the Big East. Now Nova gets some time to rest before they travel to Madison Square Garden with an opportunity to improve their NCAA seeding.
I predicted big nights from the seniors and Dante and Dwayne delivered. Both had 19 points in their final games at the Pavilion. Cunningham's shot was a little off (8-17 fg, 3-7 ft), but he still had a great night, adding 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks. Anderson only played 17 minutes because of foul trouble, but he was extremely efficient during that time. He was 7-11 from the field, 3-5 from three, and had 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals, and a block. Shane Clark had a less dramatic night, fouling out in 20 minutes, but he still contributed. He hit a 3-pointer and grabbed 5 rebounds and 2 steals. The final senior, Frank Tchuisi, even got onto the stat sheet. He had 1 point and 1 rebound in his final night playing in front of the Pavilion crowd. Word is he will be back as a coach next year.
With all the hype surrounding the seniors, appreciating their achievements and bidding them farewell, kind of lost in the shuffle is Scottie Reynolds. For all we know the junior standout may have played his last game in the Pavilion. Right now I don't think his NBA draft stock is high enough to leave early, but if he leads Villanova to the Final Four averaging something like 20 points and 5 assists, he could propel himself into a first round pick. He had 23 points, 4 assists, and 4 steals in this game, hitting five big 3-pointers.
Villanova did an excellent job taking care of the ball. They had 26 assists and only 7 turnovers. Reggie Redding led the team with a career-high 11 assists and zero turnovers. This is the first time all season that any Wildcat has reached double digits in assists. Corey Fisher dished out six dimes himself, while committing zero turnovers. He broke out of his mini-shooting slump by scoring 13 points off the bench. He also had 4 steals in 27 minutes. Also quietly efficient off the bench were Corey Stokes and Antonio Pena. Stokes hit three triples to score 11 points. Pena scored 6 points in 9 minutes and had a coulple of blocks.