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10 December 2007

Villanova downs Temple to set Big 5 record

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
12/10/2007 03:43:00 AM
Villanova 101
Temple 93

(box score)

Temple: 4-5 (0-0 A10, 0-1 B5)
#21 Villanova: 7-1 (0-0 BE, 2-0 B5)

Next game: vs. Hartford, 12/14 at the Pavilion.

Villanova set the all-time record for consecutive Big 5 wins Sunday night with a victory over the Temple Owls at the Liacouras Center, giving the Wildcats 13 straight wins in the Philadelphia city series.

The Wildcat offense exploded for 101 points just one game after it suffered from extreme sluggishness in the Wachovia Center.

Scottie Reynolds played his best game of the season, and led the Wildcats in points, rebounds, assists, and steals in a truly dominating performance. The rest of the Villanova backcourt also played well, and we even saw freshman Corey Stokes hit a pair of three pointers to shoot 100 percent from the field.

The win was fairly convincing, but there was a stretch late in the game when Villanova allowed Temple to come partially back from a much wider margin. The Wildcats were able to hold off the comeback and close out the game.

Congratulations to reader "Snig Li" for most closely predicting the game's final score.

Next up for Villanova is the non-conference "cupcake" game against Hartford at the Pavilion on Friday night.

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

  • Scottie Reynolds (S, 37 min)

    You could call this a break-out game for Reynolds if he hadn't excelled so consistently last year and throughout this season. Still, this was a particularly dominating performance. Reynolds led all scorers with 27 points on outstanding 8-12 shooting. He was also 4-7 from the three. Reynolds led the Wildcats in rebounds, with 6, and in assists, with 9. Several beautiful passes that he made were not finished for buckets, or the assist total would have been even higher. Reynolds also led the team in steals, with 3. Scottie did make some misguided passes and dribble moves, resulting in 3 turnovers, but he made up for it with his hustle and defensive effort. Most important, Reynolds was able to rebound from his free-throw woes last week with a 7-7 performance from the line Sunday.
    Grade: A

  • Shane Clark (S, 36 min)

    Clark has demonstrated that he can make and create the mid-range jumper, and that he can also drain the three ball when set up along the perimeter by a teammate. Clark played a good game against Temple, scoring 17 points on 5-10 shooting, including 1-1 from three and 6-7 from the foul line. He added 4 rebounds, an assist, and 2 turnovers.
    Grade: B

  • Dante Cunningham (S, 28 min)

    Cunningham played a quiet but altogether serviceable game Sunday. He shot 3-5 from the field to score 7 points, but it was often Antonio Pena finishing inside instead of Cunningham. As long as the ball is going in the hoop, though, it hardly matters.
    Grade: C

  • Corey Fisher (S, 27 min)

    Fisher started the game on fire, scoring 10 points in the early minutes. He cooled off a bit thereafter, but ran the offense well from the point. He scored 16 points on 5-12 shooting, and shot 2-5 from the three. He also was a perfect 4-4 from the foul line. He handled the ball well, dishing out 5 assists and committing just 2 turnovers. Fisher defended well, and came up with 2 steals. One disappointing play occurred when Corey grabbed a steal and had a breakaway with no defenders in front of him, but could not finish the layup. Luckily, trailer Reggie Redding put the tip in. Hopefully that missed layup was a fluke, because Fisher finished several such run-outs successfully in high school.
    Grade: B+

  • Reggie Redding (S, 21 min)

    Redding really struggled on the offensive end against the Owls, shooting 1-6 from the field. He was 0-2 from the three and 0-1 at the free throw line. Aside from his offensive woes, Redding played a decent game. He had 3 rebounds, an assist, a steal, and 2 turnovers. He handled the ball adequately, and generally played good defense, except for a few times when he failed to get back out to the perimeter to defend against a threeball in progress.
    Grade: C-

  • Corey Stokes (17 min)

    Stokes played a mistake-free game on offense, and looks like he is growing much more comfortable on both side of the ball with t he Wildcats. He hit both shots he took, a pair of three pointers, and was a perfect 2-2 from the line to score 8 points. He grabbed 4 rebounds and added 2 assists and a steal. He handled the ball well, making no turnovers. His defense left a little to be desired, as he looked a step behind on the perimeter; hopefully that lack of quickness can be made up for by better anticipation in future efforts.
    Grade: B

  • Antonio Pena (16 min)

    Pena was the beneficiary of some beautiful Reynolds and Fisher feeds down low, and he enjoyed several open dunks. Pena played a brilliant game, scoring 17 points on 7-8 shooting, including 1-1 from the three. He also sank both his free throws. Pena added 4 rebounds, a block, and a steal, and played well overall both in the paint and on the wing. Expect some major minutes from Pena in conference play, if he hasn't already cracked the starting lineup by then.
    Grade: B+

  • Malcolm Grant (12 min)

    Grant, fresh off his late-game heroics vs. LSU, was thankfully not needed to perform any miracles Sunday. He played good defense in his 12 minutes, but was a little quiet on the offensive side of the ball. Grant shot 1-4, including 1-2 from the three to score 5 points. He added an assist and a rebound. Personally, I would like to see more minutes for Malcolm Grant, because good things seem to happen when he is on the floor.
    Grade: B-

  • Casiem Drummond (6 min)

    Drummond struggled with a minor foot injury and foul trouble, so his minutes were severely limited. He looked decent in his short stretch of playing time, scoring 2 on 1-3 shooting. He still needs to improve his free throw stroke (0-2 Sunday), but his presence down low is a positive.
    Grade: C-

  • Incomplete grades: none.

  • Did not play:
    Andrew Ott
    , Dwayne Anderson, Jason Colenda, Frank Tchuisi.

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At 11:37 AM, December 10, 2007, Blogger garretthill said...

The team we saw in the 2nd half last night is the team I have been waiting for the last couple of games.

Love the athletisim that Pena shows. Hopfully, last night was his "coming out party". I saw him play in high school at Lincoln in Brooklyn and last night was flashes of that.

Also, was it me, or were those the offense sets that we are used to seeing? It seemed as if they got away from them and changed their sets for the LSU game.

At 12:17 PM, December 10, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Pena has great talent, and he was extremely efficient in shooting last night. It was just a matter of time before he started to play well. By the way, I didn't know that he was comfortable shooting threes!

I'm still not sure why they didn't get the ball to Stokes more. A streaky shooter like him will need to take more shots than he did last night to break the slump.

Overall, the second half was awesome, and everybody made some kind significant contribution. I was also impressed with Temple, so that was a solid win. Hopefully they will be able to extend this Big Five winning streak for a few more years.

At 12:26 PM, December 10, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unlike the LSU game the Temple game was.... "relaxing" to watch.

Even in the first half I felt confident. I am not an "X" and "O" guy, just a dump fan, but it seems Jay has a lot more work to do on the Defensive end than the offensive end. (both ends were pretty sloppy in the LSU game... except for Mr. Grant in the last eight minutes)

Also I just can't visualize Foye, Ray, Nardi and Lowry in a an end game situation, similar to Temple, letting the clock stop so much.

I am sure Jay will work on that, and a bunch of "stuff" I don"t have a clue about, before we hit the BIG EAST.

Good planning that the schedule gets cranked up in difficulty slowly.


At 6:41 PM, December 10, 2007, Blogger DaveNJ said...

I loved Peña's performance, and he's really showing why he ranked right next to Scottie Reynolds on the Rivals list the year the year they entered college. He was red-shirted for that extra year, but he's starting to hit his stride. He's so athletic, and is that big PF presence that we can use. Plus, he's pretty efficient.

On a side note, more trouble in Louisville, as Derrick Caracter has been suspended indefinitely for a curfew violation. More trouble for a Louisville team that's down to seven players now. Tyreke Evans was seen favoring Louisville before the Dayton loss, and it was expected he would declare soon, but this has to make him think twice.

All in all it was a very impressive performance from Villanova, and I hope they keep it rolling against Hartford (I'll be at the game).

At 7:44 PM, December 10, 2007, Blogger garretthill said...

I agree Dave that it may play some part in Tyreke's decision b/c of the "turmoil", but probably only a very small one. Although, trust me, I hope is does make him shy away from the Ville.

Consider this though, the team stuck by Derrick before the Dayton game. They voted and talked Pitino into giving him one more chance and Derrick signed a contract, that included making curfew. He was suspended by Pitino after missing curfew that very same night.

He sounds like one bad egg on a team that was willing to stick by their teammate, which shows they are a close-knit team/program. Not only b/c his teammates stuck up for him, but also b/c Pitino allows his team to have some input on team related decisions. He's not a "do it my way or no way" guy. Most athletes these days love that quality. I believe Jay Wright is like that too and relates very well to his players and listens to their concerns.

At 8:18 PM, December 10, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If tyreke comes to nova we could run a five guard offense. Tyreke, Fisher, Stokes, Reggie, and Scottie. We'd score 1000 points a game or get blocked a 1000 times. Maybe both.

At 8:33 PM, December 10, 2007, Blogger pete said...

shawny macattack!

Don't forget about Grant!

At 9:23 PM, December 10, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

damn that was stupid of me. Grant is the shit.

At 9:52 PM, December 10, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is is clear to anyone else that
Redding should not be starting.

At 10:28 PM, December 10, 2007, Blogger pete said...

I think a few arguments can be made regarding the starting lineup.

When we face teams where we need inside presence, start Reynolds, Fisher, Clark, Dante, and Pena.

When we need more perimeter play:
Reynolds, Fisher, Redding, Clark, Dante

My favorite starting lineup would be:
Reynolds, Fisher, Redding, Dante, Pena

But starting really doesn't matter, because we play in a rotation. Grant is one of our best players, for example, so does it matter if he "starts" or if he plays?

At 12:30 AM, December 11, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My starting lineup is:
Cassiem, Pena, Frank Tchuisi, Andrew Ott, Dante

At 12:57 PM, December 11, 2007, Blogger Shelton said...

I'd like to have a consistent starting lineup as well - but due to Shane's early injury, they've had to shuffle things around a bit.

I like Drummond starting actually - bringing in a big like Pena later on speeds the tempo and gives the team a different look. But as long as the get wins, I don't care.

At 1:34 PM, December 12, 2007, Blogger Bill said...

By far the most encouraging aspect of the early season in the emergence of the "big guys" ie Drumond,Pena and Ott; and also the maturing of Reggie Redding into a solid confidant contributor. These guys are capable of doing damage in the tournament this year, and being a real contender next year.... If they choose to stay together!

If Tyrek Evans joins us we are even more dangerous next year, but with him or without him we now have serious talent and great coaching. With a little luck and the commitment of the team to stay together we are poised for a few great years....


At 2:36 PM, December 13, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Next year ...

If Reynolds doesn't go pro (I think there is a good chance he will), I'm not entirely sure that adding Evans makes us a better team, or anyway, not much better. You can only put 5 people on the floor at once, and, with all of the talk about 4 guard offenses, realistically, under most circumstances you are going to have at most 3 guards on the floor. I mean, who do you sit? If nothing else, it could make for some pretty unhappy people.

My guess is that it's a moot point. Evans, who will play one year & go pro, needs to go somewhere where he will not only play, but be the focus of the offense. If he comes to Nova, and Reynolds doesn't go pro, he will not be the focus of the offense. And he certainly is capable of doing the math. Unless Reynolds has already decided to go pro, and such fact has been communicated to Evans, then I don't see him coming here.

That said, the current crew with another year's experience should have a REAL good shot at a national championship next year, even without Evans, if Reynolds stays. Maybe that will be enough to keep him here.

At 4:29 PM, December 13, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous, you are probably right. I am still confused why Jay Wright is not focusing on recruiting more big men.

At 4:29 PM, December 13, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous, you are probably right. I am still confused why Jay Wright is not focusing on recruiting more big men.

At 5:07 PM, December 13, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You make good points.

The signature of Villanova Basketball is the cohesiveness and unselfishness of the "team play". That doesn't seem to be consistent with the "one and done" attitude. Even a superior talent may not flourish in a single season.

Even if Scottie can't resist the opportunity of the NBA Evans MAY not be the focus of our offense on next year's team, considering the talent we have and their potential growth.

I agree with you that the biggest factor in next year's success revolves around "the current crew", not Evans.


At 4:23 AM, December 14, 2007, Blogger pete said...

You guys are crazy. I would love to get Evans, and I would not worry one bit whatsoever about "team play" or Evans only staying one year or losing out on big men.

Evans is a unique, singular talent, a program changer, and the minute he steps on campus, we are on the short list for national championship contenders.

If we are lucky enough for Tyreke to want to come here, we embrace him with open arms.

At 8:41 AM, December 14, 2007, Blogger Bill said...


One man does not win the Big Dance. Think about last year. Not Texas or Ohio State, but Florida, a balanced team that played together for several years dominated.

No doubt Evans will help next year, and will be welcomed with open arms, but we can be there with or without him baring injury.


At 3:03 PM, December 15, 2007, Blogger garretthill said...

I agree Nova is a National Championship contender with or without Evans, assuming Reynolds comes back, which I truely believe he will for two reasons that I will touch on in a little.

Evans is a player that has the ability to take the game over if need be, but can also flourish in a "team" system should he come here. He will just add to the list of threats that Nova has when they need someone to step up or if one of the other many threats goes down with injury.

As for Scottie:

Reasons he will/should stay:

1) He is not ready!!! Plain and simple. Right now at the NBA level, he is a one dimensional offensive scorer (a jumpshooter), with good playmaking abilities, that still struggles on the defensive end. He can't create his own shot well enough yet, nor can he penetrate to the basket and get the elevation nor use his body well enough to get shots off in amongst the trees. You see him so often drive at the college level and get his shots blocked. That will just be exacerbated at the NBA level.

Reason 2: He will want to stick around a try to win a National Championship. He knows that by him staying, and with the other firepower they have, gives Nova a great chance to compete for the title, which is every kids dream.


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