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13 January 2008

Bearcats claw past 'Nova

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
1/13/2008 03:05:00 PM

Villanova 66
Cincinnati 69
(box score)
(ESPN video highlights)

Cincinnati: 8-8 (3-1 BE)
#17 Villanova: 11-3 (1-2 BE, 3-0 B5)

Next game: vs. DePaul, 01/16 at the Pavilion.

In a close game that looked like it would go Villanova's way like some other tight contests this season, Villanova could not defeat the dangerous Cincinnati Bearcats.

The Wildcats suffered their third loss of the season Saturday in Cincinnati to drop to 11-3 overall and a shocking 1-2 in the Big East.

Scottie Reynolds's season-high 32 points were not enough to contain a late Bearcats' surge.

A Reynolds three-pointer gave Villanova a three-point lead at the 2:15 mark, but the 'Cats would not score again. After Cincinnati's Rashad Bishop knocked down a three with 22 seconds on the clock, Villanova trailed by two.

With the Wildcats down two, the freshman Corey Fisher got to the foul line with six seconds remaining, but he missed the front end of the one-and-one. The Bearcats grabbed the rebound and made one of two free throws.

His team down three, Scottie Reynolds threw a desperation heave as time expired that actually found the rim, but it did not find the net, and the Wildcats dropped their second conference road game.

Villanova again seemed to suffer from the absence of Casiem Drummond, its starting center, who is out with a foot injury. Villanova was once again out-rebounded by a double-digit margin.

Drummond is scheduled to be medically evaluated on Monday to determine when he could possibly return to action.

Another problem for the Wildcats Saturday appeared to be the rotation. Jay Wright's management of minutes left a lot of Villanova fans scratching their heads with confusion. Why did Malcolm Grant, a hero of close games all year, only see two minutes in a second half that was as close as it gets?

Sure, Grant missed a few shots, but why not see if he could get it going given more time? At the very least, Grant should have been on the floor in the game's crucial closing minutes.

In all, Grant played just eight minutes in a game where his offensive firepower and energy were sorely needed. Meanwhile, Reggie Redding, who is usually a solid contributor, saw 24 minutes of action while shooting the same 0-3 from the field that Grant did in one-third of the playing time.

Even Corey Stokes, a complete non-factor, saw one minute more than Grant. Unless there was some sort of injury or disciplinary issue I am not aware of, keeping Grant on the pine seems like a mistake to me.

Congratulations to reader "Sports Fan" for most closely predicting the game's final score.

Next up for Villanova is a rematch with the DePaul Blue Demons Wednesday night in the Pavilion. Villanova lost to DePaul in Illinois on Jan. 3 to open conference play.

On to the player grades. "READ MORE" below for player performance grades and analysis.

  • Scottie Reynolds (S, 37 min)

    Reynolds bounced back in tremendous fashion Saturday after struggling the previous week with minor injuries. Reynolds scored a season-high 32 points on 11-22 shooting, including 5-11 from the three. He was terrible from the foul-line, however, shooting 55.6 percent, 5 makes in 9 attempts. He grabbed 2 rebounds and dished out 2 assists, but led the team in turnovers with 5. Reynolds also led all Wildcats in the steals category, with 3. Scottie did seem a little fatigued out there toward the end, which could be attributed to his 37 minutes of playing time and the fact that Jay Wright called on Reynolds to handle point guard duties for most of the game. In my opinion, Wright is going a little bit overboard with the "hot hand" theory. Sure, Reynolds was on fire on offense for the whole game, but why not let Fisher or Grant run point duties as they have for much of the season? This seems to be the same philosophy that kept Grant on the bench after he missed his first few shots, as well. All in all, it was an excellent game for Reynolds, minus some mistakes.
    Grade: A-

  • Dante Cunningham (S, 28 min)

    Cunningham notched 28 minutes but had a surprisingly small impact on the game overall. Dante scored just 1 point and did not even attempt a shot. He also looked weak on the boards, grabbing just 4 rebounds. Though he made a nice block, he committed 3 turnovers and did not get any steals. Cunningham also spent much of the game in foul trouble. Subpar game from Dante, who usually performs much better in the post.
    Grade: D

  • Shane Clark (S, 27 min)

    Clark looked a little better on the offensive end. Though he only scored 6 points, at least he shot well, 3-4 from the field. He only had 2 rebounds, however. It wasn't a terrible game offensively, but Clark certainly did not do much in his 27 minutes. Clark notched 1 block and 1 steal and did not commit any turnovers. On defense, Clark struggled tremendously, giving up a few key open three-pointers and generally seeming out of place. He was slow both rotating on the perimeter and getting out to the three-point line on defense.
    Grade: D+

  • Corey Fisher (S, 26 min)

    Fisher shot early and often, and while he shot well from inside the arc (4-6), he simply could not find the net from the three, where he went an brutal 1-8. He finished with 13 points when you include his 2-3 performance from the foul line. Fisher did not come through in the clutch, missing the front-end of an absolutely critical one-and-one with the 'Cats trailing by two points with six seconds remaining. Fisher had 2 assists, 1 turnover, and 1 steal.
    Grade: B-

  • Reggie Redding (S, 24 min)

    Redding was terrible on the offensive end, missing all three of his shots badly. His two missed three-pointers were not even close. He did not grab any rebounds in 24 minutes, and had 2 each of assists, turnovers, and steals. Redding usually contributes solid play, but one has to wonder why he was relied upon for 24 minutes when he was providing zero offensive output.
    Grade: D

  • Dwayne Anderson (21 min)

    Anderson seems to have earned a spot in the regular rotation. Dwayne played well considering the limitations in his offensive game. Anderson shot 2-3 from the field to score 4 points. Anderson seemed to lack confidence on the offensive end, passing up several open shots to defer to a covered teammate. Dwayne led the team in rebounds, with 9, and grabbed 2 steals while committing no turnovers. All in all, it was a solid game from Anderson, and I will not argue that he saw too much court time. Anderson easily out-performed Cunningham, Clark, Redding, and Stokes, so he is not to blame for Grant's lack of minutes.
    Grade: B

  • Antonio Pena (20 min)

    Pena is now clearly the best weapon the Wildcats have in the offensive post. Pena scored 10 points on excellent 5-7 shooting, though four of his field goals came in the first half. Pena grabbed 4 rebounds and notched one each of assists, steals, and turnovers. Pena looks to be one of the most athletically gifted Wildcats to grace the blue-and-white uniform in some time, so look for him to continue to improve. At this point, I believe that Pena has earned a spot in the starting lineup, either at Clark's SF or Redding's swingman spot.
    Grade: B

  • Corey Stokes (9 min)

    Stokes did not attempt a shot in his 9 minutes and did not score. The only impact he had on the box score whatsoever was a single rebound. It is fine that Stokes is going to be a longer-term project than expected, but why was he given more minutes in a close game than Malcolm Grant?
    Grade: D

  • Malcolm Grant (8 min)

    It is hard to assign a grade for Grant, because while he did not score on 0-3 shooting, he was only in the game for 8 minutes. Had he been given the chance to get going, who knows what he could have done. The Wildcats may have even won the game if Grant had been out there in the closing minutes of the second half. Grant grabbed 1 rebound and dished out 1 assist in his brief stint of playing time.
    Grade: C

  • Incomplete grades: None

  • Did not play:
    Casiem Drummond
    (foot), Andrew Ott (CD), Frank Tchuisi (CD), Jason Colenda (CD).

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At 4:52 PM, January 13, 2008, Anonymous Gregg said...

According to scout.com, Villanova is down to 5th on Tyreke's list. Is this rumor true?

At 7:18 PM, January 13, 2008, Blogger Dewey Hammond said...

With the way Jay Wright has been coaching the X's and O's lately, why would Tyreke want to go to Villanova? We need him more than he needs us. He'll end up at a school that has more national TV time.

At 11:38 PM, January 13, 2008, Anonymous Redding Stinks said...

I'm Seriously confused why Redding continues to get almost the most minutes every night. He is quite awful in almost every aspect. Start Pena move clark to SF that will give us plenty of height. All redding does is airball mid range jumpers and three pointers and is a turnover machine.

At 2:32 PM, January 14, 2008, Anonymous todd said...

as for the tyreke thing- we're not 5th, it is in alphabetical order. memphis and lousiville have been listed as the leaders for a couple of months now- a lot has changed since then and it hasn't been updated.


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