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21 December 2006

Villanova trounces Rider

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
12/21/2006 05:31:00 AM

Villanova 108
Rider 61

(box score)

Villanova: 7-2 (8-2, 0-0 BE, 1-0 B5)
Next game: at La Salle, 12/23 @ Tom Gola Arena.

Coming off a disappointing loss to Drexel two weeks ago, Villanova entered tonight's game against the Rider Broncs with something to prove. Playing with chips on their shoulders, the Wildcats utterly annihilated the hapless Broncs, running away with the game by a 47-point margin of victory, the largest such margin in 10 years. (The 'Cats beat UNCW 87-38 on Dec. 30, 1996 at the Pavilion.)

Villanova exploded for 62 points in the second half even with many of its starters taking extended breaks. Along with the potent offensive attack, the 'Cats played excellent defense, holding Rider to a dismal 37 percent shooting from the field. Villanova also forced 15 turnovers, scoring 21 points off them. Finally, the Wildcats owned the boards tonight, out-rebounding Rider by the ridiculous tally of 48-21. This allowed Villanova to outscore the Broncs by a remarkable 21-2 in second-chance points.

Even when the game was in hand and Jay emptied the bench, the team did not let up. The lead grew all the way until the 3:27 mark, when Villanova pulled ahead by 50. I think it was an excellent move by Jay to let the team play 40 minutes of hard basketball, to get back the feeling of "Villanova basketball" after 11 days off. It also allowed the team to regain some confidence after a bad loss, and gave our younger players valuable experience before Big East play.

I do not think Jay was trying to "run up the score," especially since he went to the bench so early and often. Overall, I think it was an excellent coaching job by Jay: he and our players turned this contest against a weak team into an unlikely statement game.

Onto the player grades. Click "READ MORE" below for player performance grades and analysis.

  • Curtis Sumpter (S, 27 min)

    Curtis led the team in scoring tonight with 22. He brought his usually versatile offensive game tonight, scoring in a variety of ways. He did miss all 3 of his three-point attempts, but shot a good 7-13 overall, a blistering 70 percent from inside the arc. Sumpter was a perfect 8-8 from the line. He co-led the team in steals, with 2, and led the team in turnovers, with 3. The 22 points are somewhat deceiving, since Curtis could have easily dropped 30 or more had the game required it.
    Grade: B+

  • Dante Cunningham (S, 27 min)

    Cunningham has become the team's powder-keg, liable to explode for fantastically athletic plays at any given time. Dante was also a model of efficiency tonight, to use another cliche, as he was 4-6 from the field and 6-6 from the line, with no turnovers. He added 6 rebounds (4 offensive) to go with his 14 efficient points. Cunningham is a truly special athlete, and watching him run the break or attack the offensive glass is a real treat. I only wish we would run more of our offense through him down low, and that he would assert himself more in calling for the ball.
    Grade: A-

  • Scottie Reynolds (S, 25 min)

    Watching the game I realized how lucky Villanova was to get this McDonald's All-American to run the point after losing three guards to the NBA. It's not a luxury every team has. Scottie was in top form tonight, single-handedly breaking an active Rider press almost every time down the floor. He was also wheeling and dealing spectacularly, totaling 7 assists in his 25 minutes. Reynolds scored 9 on 2-7 shooting and a 4-4 effort from the line. He co-led the team in steals with 2, and committed only 1 turnover despite handling the ball and breaking through traps and double-teams all night.
    Grade: B+

  • Mike Nardi (S, 25 min)

    On a night when the team exploded for 108 points, many in spectacular fashion, Nardi turned in a solid but quiet effort. He scored 11 points on 4-8 shooting, including 3-7 from downtown, but did not reach the free throw line. He also added 3 assists and committed 1 turnover in a nearly mistake-free performance.
    Grade: B

  • Shane Clark (21 min)

    Shane made some great plays tonight and played good defense during his extended time on the floor. He scored 10 points on 3-8 shooting, and was 2-6 from beyond the arc. I'd like to see a little more discretion on the long ball: some of his shots seemed off-balance and a few were contested. Shane's biggest contribution, though, was on the glass, where he led the team with 12 rebounds. Shane was able to use his reach and athleticism to dominate the caroms, and the box score reflects that.
    Grade: B

  • Casiem Drummond (20 min)

    Tonight was the Casiem Drummond coming-out party. After seeing a paltry 32 combined minutes through the team's first nine games, Casiem played his way into big-time minutes tonight. Drummond, a freshman, looked formidable in the paint, and his basketball instincts seem excellent. Casiem put up 9 points and 8 rebounds, and had a nasty block. Something tells me we are going to be seeing a lot more of Casiem in conference play. Don't be surprised if he cracks the starting lineup by late in the season: he has that much potential.
    Grade: B+

  • Dwayne Anderson (18 min)

    Dwayne played a good all-around game in his 18 minutes. He provided his usual offensive spark, scoring 12 points on 4-9 shooting, including 2-7 from the three. He also added 5 rebounds. Dwayne was part of the night's best highlight, in my opinion, finishing a beautiful give-and-go transition sequence with a powerful dunk.
    Grade: B

  • Will Sheridan (S, 18 min)

    Will looked good tonight, and played quite hard. He was perfect from the field, shooting 5-5, but did miss 2 in 5 attempts from the stripe. He was a little quiet on the boards, totaling just 4, but looked good on defense where he had a block. He did not take any bad shots or commit any turnovers.
    Grade: B

  • Bilal Benn (6 min)

    Is Bilal in Jay's dog house? He did not enter the game until the final 6 minutes, and he had been averaging 14 minutes a game coming into tonight. It's more likely, though, that Jay just wanted to try out some bigger lineups and continue our domination of the paint and boards. Benn looked good running the offense at the end of the game. He was 2-2 from the field and 4-6 from the line for 8 points in his 6 minutes.
    Grade: B

  • Frank Tchuisi (5 min)

    This was Frank's most extended run since the first game of the season against NAIA Northwood. Tchuisi still needs a lot of work. He looked pretty awkward on the court, even with the game already decided. He did get 1 rebound, but missed another when the ball literally bounced off his hands. Hopefully as the season goes on, Frank will get more comfortable out there.
    Grade: D

  • Reggie Redding (5 min)

    I think Reggie is one of our more underrated players. He is deceptively athletic and has great basketball instincts. Though he only played 5 minutes tonight, he made good decisions and managed to get 2 assists in that limited time. He also was the other half of the aforementioned spectacular fast-break give-and-go with Dwayne Anderson.
    Grade: B

  • Incomplete grades:
    Ross Condon (3 min).

  • Did not play:
    Andrew Ott (RS), Antonio Pena (knee, RS)

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At 6:23 PM, December 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best Line-up going into Big East action.

Sumpter Forward
Clark Forward
Cunningham Center
Nardi Guard
Reynolds Guard

Defense off the bench Benn
Offense off the bench Anderson

At 8:00 PM, December 21, 2006, Blogger Pete @ LetsGoNova.com said...

That would be a very dynamic line-up. Love to see that.


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