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16 February 2007

'Nova freezes Cincinnati

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
2/16/2007 02:31:00 AM

Villanova 64
Cincinnati 48

(box score)

Cincinnati: 10-15 (1-10 BE)
Villanova: 17-7 (18-7, 6-5 BE, 4-0 B5)

Next game: vs #14 Georgetown, 02/17 @The Wachovia Center.

The wintry mix of snow, ice, sleet, and gale-force winds kept many would-be spectators away from the Pavilion last night, but those who did make the trip witnessed a solid Villanova win over a hopelessly poor Cincinnati team.

The spread for the game was 15.5, and it was clear very quickly that the game would never be close. Cincinnati simply could not score. With 6:08 remaining in the first half, Cincinnati had 10 turnovers and just 6 points. They needed 16 minutes just to reach double digits.

You know your team is terrible when the opposing student section starts mock-cheering for nearly all your baskets. That's exactly what happened at the Pavilion last night.

Some strong points for the Wildcats were their defense, long-ball shooting, and transition game. Villanova forced 16 turnovers, including 12 in the first half, and held the hapless Bearcats to 34.2 percent shooting. The Wildcats shot 8-20 from the three for 40 percent. Finally, Villanova managed an excellent 19 points off turnovers.

The game was never in question. The real test for Villanova will be Saturday's showdown downtown against the #14 Georgetown Hoyas. With a win at the Wachovia Center Saturday, Villanova will have all but stamped its NCAA ticket.

Onto the player grades. As always, click "READ MORE" below for player performance grades and analysis.

  • Mike Nardi (S, 29 min)

    Mike Nardi seems to have gotten back into his rhythm these past few games. Nardi led the team in scoring with 16, and shot 5-9 from the field. He was on fire from the three, going 4-5. Nardi seems to hit shots when he is open, and Cincinnati gave him plenty of open looks. If he can stick his open shots and not force contested ones, Mike is going to be very valuable to the team in the post-season. Nardi added 3 assists, 3 rebounds a steal, and a turnover.
    Grade: B+

  • Scottie Reynolds (S, 29 min)

    Reynolds got a chance to showcase his defensive skills last night. He co-led the team in steals, with 3, and was generally a nuisance to Cincinnati's offensive plans. Scottie continues to be cold from the floor. He shot 2-9 from the field, including 1-5 from the three, but was perfect again from the line at 4-4 to score 9 points total. I get the feeling that after suffering from the flu, Reynolds needs another offensive breakout game to regain his confidence. Let's hope that game is Saturday against Georgetown. Reynolds managed to run the point while committing just 1 turnover, and he also added 3 assists and 3 boards.
    Grade: B-

  • Will Sheridan (S, 25 min)

    This is the first game in a while that Sheridan's minutes have cracked 20. Will played a solid game against the Bearcats. Cincinnati really has no inside presence to speak of on either end, so Sheridan was able to get into the offensive flow a little bit. He scored 8 points on 4-6 shooting. His defense was not that good, however. Sheridan committed 2 turnovers and had just 1 block against a Cincinnati team that was absolutely horrible in the paint. Will also pulled in 3 boards.
    Grade: C

  • Shane Clark (S, 23 min)

    Clark was as cold as the weather from the floor last night, going 2-8 from the field and 1-5 behind the arc. He did have a positive impact everywhere else. Clark had 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 assist, and 1 turnover. His defense looked better. His handle still needs a lot of work.
    Grade: C+

  • Bilal Benn (22 min)

    Benn earned some major minutes serving as the 3rd guard on the floor. He played very efficiently and handled the ball well, coughing up no turnovers. He scored 5 points on 2-2 shooting. He added 4 rebounds, an assist, a steal, and played his typically stingy defense.
    Grade: B-

  • Reggie Redding (20 min)

    Redding may be the team's best pure passer. His court vision is definitely unmatched. He led the team in assists with 4, and co-led the team in steals with 3. Reggie is such a natural basketball player that he knows where to be and when most of the time. He was horrendous as a shooter, however. Redding shot 1-5 from the floor, and most of those shots had no chance whatsoever. He is a good shooter and needs to get his confidence going. He also needs to protect the ball a little more as he committed 3 turnovers. His defense against the Bearcats was outstanding, however.
    Grade: C+

  • Dante Cunningham (20 min)

    Cunningham is still suffering from respiratory symptoms after his bout with influenza or bronchitis or both, depending on who you ask. As against Seton Hall, however, his game is showing no ill effects. Dante was 3-7 from the field and a perfect 5-5 from the stripe to get 11 points. He also led the team in rebounding with 9. He added 1 spectacular block, and had 1 turnover.
    Grade: B+

  • Curtis Sumpter (S, 19 min)

    Sumpter was held scoreless for most of the game before hitting consecutive shots. He finished with 8 points on 3-7 shooting, including 2-3 from the three. He had 4 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal, a block, and a turnover. All in all, not bad for 19 minutes of work.
    Grade: B-

  • Incomplete grades:
    Dwayne Anderson
    (5 min), Casiem Drummond (4 min), Frank Tchuisi (2 min), Ross Condon (2 min).

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

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