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19 November 2007

'Nova overcomes Bucknell

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
11/19/2007 02:56:00 AM
Villanova 70
Bucknell 64

(box score)

Next game: vs. Central Florida, 11/22 at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida (Old Spice Classic round 1).

In a game where the opposition was firing on all cylinders and Villanova was sputtering along, leaving the Pavilion with a win was more than enough for the Wildcats.

Bucknell, a team famous for giving ranked opponents hard times, lived up to its reputation tonight as it took an 8-point-lead into the locker room against 24th-ranked Villanova.

Bucknell took advantage of savvy perimeter passing to sink a team-record 15 three-pointers against the Wildcats, including 9 in the first half.

Villanova coach Jay Wright made some defensive adjustments that likely saved the game for the Wildcats. Wright instructed guard Reggie Redding to shadow John Griffin, Redding's high-school teammate, who scorched Villanova with 17 first-half points. Griffin scored just 5 more points the rest of the game.

Sparked by Redding's defensive intensity, Villanova was able to outscore the Bison by 15 in the second half to win by 7, which is a more-than-respectable result against a team that executes as well as Bucknell.

Congratulations to Let'sGoNova reader "Gregg" for most closely predicting the final score.

Villanova freshman Corey Fisher made his long-awaited college debut after sitting out the first games of the season with knee tendinitis. Fisher and his All-American teammate Corey Stokes saw limited playing time Sunday, however. They may be still hurting from earlier injuries, or Jay Wright could have simply elected to go with a more experienced lineup.

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

  • Scottie Reynolds (S, 38 min)

    Reynolds struggled a bit with the ball, committing 4 turnovers. He did, however, play solid defense, and he hit 3 huge three pointers to boost the Wildcats' offense. He scored 15 points on 4-12 shooting, and added 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal. Overall, it was a decent game for the Wildcats' star guard.
    Grade: B

  • Reggie Redding (S, 38 min)

    Redding was called upon to lock down Bucknell's best scorer and responded well to the assignment. He also scored a career-high 12 points, but struggled a bit with shot selection. Redding was 0-5 from the three, and I can't help but think those shots may have fallen if he had taken a few steps closer in before shooting. Redding made good decisions with the ball, as usual, committing just 1 turnover in 38 minutes.
    Grade: B

  • Shane Clark (S, 33 min)

    Clark led the team in scoring for the second straight game, netting 17 on 5-12 shooting. Clark is a streaky offensive player and his points seem to come in bunches. The 'Cats would greatly benefit if Clark could add a measure of consistency to his obvious offensive firepower. Clark also added 12 rebounds, co-leading the team.
    Grade: B

  • Dante Cunningham (S, 27 min)

    Cunningham was a bit quiet tonight on the offensive end. He did turn in an efficient 12-point performance on 4-7 shooting, including a monster dunk. He added 5 rebounds, but led the team in turnovers, with 5.
    Grade: C-

  • Casiem Drummond (S, 26 min)

    Drummond played in extended stretches tonight and used that time to score 8 points and pick up 12 rebounds. He shot an excellent 4-5 from the field, and is looking more and more comfortable down low in the paint. One area where Casiem dramatically needs improvement is his free-throw shooting (0-4 tonight): there is hardly an excuse for a player at this level of basketball being so poor from the line.
    Grade: B-

  • Malcolm Grant (19 min)

    The speedy freshman guard looked solid handling point duties for half of the game. He could not maintain last game's hot hand on the offensive end, however, and scored just 4 points on 2-5 shooting, including 0-3 from the three. He did look excellent driving to the basket, and was fantastic in the few chances the Wildcats were able to run in transition. Grant is a solid defender and a good ball handler, and should play a major part in the Wildcat rotation.
    Grade: B-

  • Incomplete grades:
    Corey Stokes (5 min), Antonio Pena (5 min), Dwayne Anderson (5 min), Corey Fisher (4 min).

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

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At 1:33 PM, November 19, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...


"Solid defense" from Scottie was a bit of an overstatement, since he was the one chasing Griffin around (unsuccessfully) in the 1st half. Overall, I agree with most of your points.

On offense, we very much looked like a young team who hadn't played much against a matchup zone like that one.

At 1:34 PM, November 19, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I meant "Pete," obviously...

At 1:35 PM, November 19, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone up for talking about my golf swing?

At 1:39 PM, November 19, 2007, Blogger pete said...

Hey Dan,

I considered that, but I remember watching the game, seeing that Griffin got open on a lot of other guys missing defensive switches/rotations other than Scottie.. I admit, Scottie's defense wasn't "excellent" but perhaps it was "solid" for much of the game.

At 5:38 PM, November 19, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recognition.

It's unfortunate that Stokes and Fisher aren't playing more. But in all fairness regarding Jay's decisions, they didn't look very comfortable while they were in the game. Villanova will need them to win this upcoming tournament.


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