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Dec. 7, 1997

Wildcats Battle Top Ranked Duke

VILLANOVA WILDCATS (2-2 Overall, 2-0 Big East)
No. 1 DUKE BLUE DEVILS (8-0 Overall, 1-0 ACC)

Brown jpg
Howard Brown leads the 'Cats with 10.3 ppg.

December 10, 1997 ~ 7:30 p.m. (ET)
Durham, N.C.
Cameron Indoor Stadium (9,314)

Villanova-Duke Series Notes
Duke leads the overall series with Villanova, 5-3, with the two squads first meeting during the 1930-31 season and the Wildcats coming away with a narrow 22-21 victory. Villanova's two other victories in the series came during the 1954-55 season when the Wildcats won 74-73 in Madison Square Garden in the NCAA Tournament, and in the 1958-59 season when they came away with a 74-67 win in the Palestra. Duke has won three-straight games over Villanova, including two wins in the NCAA Tournament. The Blue Devils defeated Villanova in 1963-64 and 1977-78 on their way to the Final Four both seasons. The last time the two squads met was last season in the first collegiate contest ever played in the CoreStates Center in Philadelphia. Duke (ranked No. 14) upset the No. 4 Wildcats, 79-87.

Game Information
Television: ESPN-TV
Talent: Brad Nessler, Dick Vitale
Radio: WPHT-FM (1210 am)
Talent: Andy Musser, Whitey Rigsby

Series Info
Duke leads, 5-3
Last meeting: Duke 87-79 @VU, 12/14/96

VU Coach: Steve Lappas
105-58 (.644) / 6 yrs. (VU)
161-120 (.573) / 10 yrs.
Duke Coach: Mike Krzyzewski
408-149 (.732)/18 yrs. (DU)
481-208 (.698) / 23 yrs.


Last Time Out
Villanova: The Wildcats won their 30th-straight home opener on Saturday, defeating the Seton Hall Pirates, 72-57, behind a career-high tying 19 points from John Celestand. The Piscataway, N.J., native shot five-for-nine from the field and eight-for-nine from the charity stripe in addition to tallying seven assists in the contest. Howard Brown added 16 points, converting seven-for-11, to go with eight rebounds, and Jermaine Medley had a career-high 15 points. Seton Hall was led by Donnell Williams with 18 points. The Wildcats led by five at halftime, but Seton Hall kept it close and had a six-point lead at the 10:05 mark of the game. Villanova then outscored the Pirates 28-7, including an 18-2 run, to earn the victory.

Duke: The Blue Devils captured their ACC opener with a 103-59 defeat of Virginia on Saturday at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Trajan Langdan paced his team with 22 points, on 10-for-15 shooting, while Roshown McLeod added 15, Mike Chappell 11, and William Avery 11 for Duke. The Blue Devils shot 50.6 percent from the field and forced Virginia into committing 28 turnovers in the game. The Cavaliers shot 45.5 percent from the floor and outrebounded the Blue Devils by a 39-36 margin. Norman Nolan led Virginia with 19 points in the contest, while Curtis Staples added 16 and Chase Metheney posted 12.

Allen jpg
Malik Allen has grabbed almost seven rebounds per game for 'Nova.

Next Up
Villanova: The Wildcats return to The Pavilion for a Dec. 13th match-up with New Orleans. Tipoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.

Duke: Duke travels to Michigan on Dec. 13th to play the Wolverines at 4 p.m.

Last Time Versus No. 1
The last time Villanova faced the No. 1 team in the nation was Feb. 18, 1995, when the Wildcats travelled to Storrs, Conn., to take on the top rated Connecticut Huskies. The No. 15 Wildcats upended Connecticut, 96-73, with All-American and Big East Player of the Year Kerry Kittles scoring 37 points on 12-for-18 (.667) shooting from the field, five-for-10 shooting from three, and eight-for-nine shooting from the charity stripe. Eric Eberz added 23 points for Villanova, while Doron Sheffer paced Connecticut with 14 points and All-American Ray Allen had 11.

Since the early 1980s, Villanova has been in a number of memorable games against the nation's top-ranked team during the regular-season. Following is a listing (with limited records available) of those contests:

~No. 12 Villanova 56, No. 1 North Carolina 53: The Wildcats travelled to Chapel Hill in the midst of a snowstorm on the Main Line on Feb. 13, 1983, to take on the Tar Heels. John Pinone led Villanova with 14 points and Ed Pinckney had 11 points and 11 rebounds to pace the Wildcats. North Carolina's Michael Jordan had 20 points and Sam Perkins 15 to lead the Tar Heels.

~Villanova 93, No. 1 Syracuse 74: Syracuse was ranked No. 1 for the sixth-straight week when Villanova upset the Orangemen, 93-74, in the Carrier Dome on Jan. 6, 1990. Greg Woodard converted 16-of-17 from the line and finished with 27 points to lead all scorers, while Tom Greis had 16 points. Syracuse was led by Stephen Thompson with 20 points, while Derrick Coleman and David Johnson each scored 13 points. Billy Owens had 12 rebounds and five points in the game. Villanova hit a school record 43-of-49 from the foul line.

~No. 1 North Carolina 75, No. 24 Villanova 66: Donald Williams led North Carolina to a 75-66 win over Villanova in Chapel Hill on Dec. 8, 1994, with 18 points. Jerry Stackhouse posted 17 and Dante Calabria 16 in the game, while Kerry Kittles had 22 for Villanova.

~No. 15 Villanova 96, No. 1 Connecticut 73: See above.

Probable Villanova Starters
No. Pos.    Name                            PPG     RPG
#15 F       MALIK ALLEN (So., 6-10, 240)    8.8     6.8
#22 F       HOWARD BROWN (Jr., 6-5, 200)    10.3    5.0
#31 C       RAFAL BIGUS (Jr., 7-1, 270)     7.8     6.0
#13 G       JOHN CELESTAND (Jr., 6-3, 175)  12.0    4.8
#10 G       JERMAINE MEDLEY (Fr., 6-0, 185) 6.0     2.0

Probable Duke Starters
No. Pos.    Name                                PPG     RPG
#20 F       MIKE CHAPPELL (So., 6-8, 195)       9.5     1.9
#31 F       SHANE BATTIER (Fr., 6-8, 225)       9.6     6.4
#42 C       ELTON BRAND (Fr., 6-8, 245)         15.1    5.9
#12 G       S. WOJCIECHOWSKI (Sr., 5-11, 170)   8.9     2.4
#21 G       TRAJAN LANGDON (Jr., 6-3, 195)      14.6    4.3

Villanova Versus the ACC
The Wildcats have posted a record of 33-31 (.516) against teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference throughout the years, including a mark of 3-5 against the Duke Blue Devils. Following are series records against the other ACC teams: 4-8 versus North Carolina; 2-1 versus Maryland; 1-4 versus Virginia; 6-2 versus Wake Forest; 10-11 versus N.C. State; 1-0 versus Florida State; 3-0 versus Clemson; and 3-0 versus Georgia Tech.

Villanova-Duke Comparison
(Four game VU totals; Eight game Duke totals)
VU                          DU
248     Points Scored       755
62.0    Avg. PPG            94.4    
95-228  FG-FGA              262-516
.417    FG Pct.             .508    
21-83   3FG-3FGA            69-182
.253    3-Pt. Pct.          .379
37-52   Free Throws         162-233
.712    FT Pct.             .695
254     Points Allowed      462
63.5    Avg. Allowed        57.8
152     Total Rebounds      314
38.0    Avg. RPG            39.3
-0.5    Rebound Margin      +5.9
62      Assists             144
15.5    Avg. APG            18.0
74      Turnovers           115
18.5    Avg. TO Per Game    14.4
23      Steals              116
5.8     Avg. SPG            14.5

All-Time Series
    12/19/30    Away        W   22-21
    3/8/55      Neutral     W   74-73
    12/17/55    Palestra    L   76-86
    12/14/57    Away        L   60-53
    12/20/58    Palestra    W   74-67
    3/13/64     Neutral     L   73-87
    3/19/78     Neutral     L   72-90
    12/14/96    Center      L   79-87   

The Last Meeting
Duke 87, Villanova 79
Dec. 14, 1996, CoreStates Center, Philadelphia, Pa.

                    M   FG-A    FT-A    R   A   PF  PTS
Ricky Price         33  6-13    2-6     6   1   1   17
S. Wojciechowski    29  1-3     10-11   1   8   3   13
Greg Newton         27  3-5     4-5     4   1   5   10
Carmen Wallace      11  1-2     1-2     4   0   2   3
Trajan Langdon      30  3-7     11-12   3   2   2   19
Jeff Capel          26  4-8     3-3     1   2   1   13
Chris Carrawell     15  3-5     1-2     3   0   0   7
Taymon Domzalski    10  0-2     0-0     1   0   2   0
Roshown McLeod      19  2-6     0-0     4   0   5   5
TOTALS              200 23-51   32-41   32  14  21  87
Three-Point Goals:  9-17 (Price 3-4; Langdon 2-5; Capel 2-3; McLeod 1-2; Wojciechowski 1-3) 
Team Rebounds: 5; Blocked Shots: 4 (Capel, Carrawell, Domzalski, McLeod 1)
Turnovers: 14 (Wojciechowski, Capel 3; Price, Langdon, McLeod 2; Newton, Domzalski 1)
Steals: 7 (Price, Wojciechowski 2; Newton, Carrawell, McLeod 1).

                M   FG-A    FT-A    R   A   PF  PTS
Tim Thomas      28  5-10    2-2     5   0   4   14
Chuck Kornegay  24  4-9     1-2     7   3   2   9
Jason Lawson    39  4-8     6-6     7   3   4   14
Alvin Williams  35  4-13    4-5     6   5   5   12
Howard Brown    23  2-5     0-0     5   1   4   5
Rafal Bigus     3   0-0     0-0     0   0   2   0
Brian Lynch     13  1-2     4-6     1   1   1   6
John Celestand  26  5-12    6-6     1   3   4   16
Malik Allen     4   1-1     1-2     1   0   1   3
T.J. Caouette   5   0-0     0-0     0   1   3   0
TOTALS          200 26-60   24-29   39  17  30  79
Three-Point Goals:  3-13 (Thomas 2-3; Brown 1-3; Williams 0-2; Lynch 0-1; Celestand 0-4)
Team Rebounds: 6; Blocked Shots: 5 (Lawson 4; Thomas 1)
Turnovers: 18 (Williams, Celestand 4; Thomas, Kornegay 3; Lawson, Brown, Bigus, Lynch 1)
Steals: 5 (Celestand 2; Thomas, Lawson, Williams 1); Halftime Score: 40-33 DU

Attendance:  19,214.
Celestand jpg
Junior John Celestand playing some "D".

Turning it up a Notch
Juniors John Celestand and Howard Brown have both elevated their play since the first game of the season, as each has posted three-straight double-figure scoring games. Celestand is averaging 14.7 ppg over the three-game span, including a career-high 19 points against Seton Hall on Saturday. Brown, meanwhile, is averaging 13.7 ppg since the Minnesota game. The Pottstown, Pa., native, led Villanova in scoring against Bradley with 14 points, and is shooting a sizzling 17-for-28 (.607) from the field during the three-game stretch. Brown recorded the best outing from the field of his career when he hit seven-of-11 (.636) from the floor against Seton Hall.

Rookie at the Point
Wildcat freshman Jermaine Medley made his first career start against Bradley, becoming the first true freshman to run the point for Villanova since the 1985-86 season when Kenny Wilson ran the show. Wilson went on to become a four-year starter for head coach Rollie Massimino, setting the Wildcat career assist mark with 627 from 1985-89. That year, Villanova started an all-freshman backcourt with Wilson at point guard and Doug West at the two guard position. Both players started each of their four years at Villanova.

Jermaine for Three
Freshman Jermaine Medley had a breakout game on Saturday versus Seton Hall, registering a career-high 15 points on five-for-nine shooting from the field. The Wilmington, Del., native, converted five-of-eight from behind the three-point arc, one of the best performances of all time for a freshman at Villanova. Medley's five treys set a single-game record for made three-pointers for all Wildcat freshman, while his percentage of .625 is the third best of all-time among Villanova rookies. Kerry Kittles owns the top two three-point shooting marks, converting four-of-four against Lehigh on Dec. 28, 1992, and hitting four-of-six (.667) against Syracuse on Feb. 23, 1993.

Both Villanova and Duke boast former standout performers from Oak Hill (Va.) Academy. The Wildcats' Jermaine Medley and Blue Devils' William Avery played their senior seasons at Oak Hill for head coach Steve Smith last year. Avery led Oak Hill in points, assists, and steals (17.6 ppg, 6.8 apg, and 3.7 spg) to earn MVP honors for the squad, while Medley chipped in with 15.9 ppg. Four members of the 1997 Oak Hill squad are currently playing Division I basketball: Avery, Medley, Atilla Cosby (Pittsburgh) and Dee Tolliver (UNC Charlotte).

Experimenting with the Lineup
Villanova head coach Steve Lappas has utilized three different starting lineups this season. The constants have been Malik Allen, Rafal Bigus, and John Celestand, while Jermaine Medley has been inserted at the point guard position and Howard Brown replaced Zeffy Penn versus Georgetown. Following are each of Villanova's lineups this season, and the result:

Lineup Record
(F) Allen, (F) Penn, (C) Bigus, (G) Lynch, (G) Celestand: 0-1
(F) Allen, (F) Penn, (C) Bigus, (G) Celestand, (G) Medley: 0-1
(F) Allen, (F) Brown, (C) Bigus, (G) Celestand, (G) Medley: 2-0

Wildcats on the Tube
During the Lappas tenure on the Main Line, Villanova has made 51 appearances on five national television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, CBS, ABC, and NBC). The Wildcats have recorded a mark of 30-21 (.588) in those games, including an 11-13 record on ESPN. Villanova is 7-1 on ESPN2, 9-7 on CBS, 1-0 on ABC, and 2-0 on NBC during the six years Lappas has served as Villanova head coach.

Allen Comes Through Sophomore power forward Malik Allen played the game of his young career versus Georgetown last Wednesday. The Shawnee High School product scored a personal-best 16 points, including a perfect eight-for-eight from the charity stripe, career-highs for free throws made, attempted, and percentage. He also grabbed a game-high eight rebounds and matched his career-high for blocked shots in a game with three. The six-foot-10 Allen also converted four key foul shots in the final 1:06 of the game, and had two big rebounds as well. His first two free throws put the Wildcats up by three, 70-67, while his last two with 22 seconds remaining in the game put Villanova up by four, 73-69, to secure the victory.

Home, Sweet, Home
The Wildcats have recorded 32-straight sellouts in their on-campus arena, The Pavilion, and boast a record of 92-34 (.730) in the building since it opened in 1986. Over the last four years, Villanova is 30-2 (.938) in The Pavilion, including an 18-2 (.900) mark in Big East Conference match-ups.

Villanova and the Home Opener
Villanova won its' 30th-straight home opener last Saturday with a 72-57 victory over Seton Hall. The Wildcats have dominated their home openers over the years, recording a mark of 72-6 (.922). The Wildcats have had a multitude of home arenas over the years, but have fared the best in their current on-campus facility, The Pavilion, where they are undefeated at 12-0 in home openers. Villanova was 12-3 (.800) in The Palestra, 10-2 in Alumni Hall, and 38-1 in the Field House (also called the 'Cat House) in its 78-year history.

At Home and on the Road in the Big East
Over the last four years (1994-present), Villanova has recorded a mark of 24-4 (.857) at home in Big East Conference regular-season contests. In Big East games in The Pavilion during that time, the Wildcats are 18-2 (.900). During the Steve Lappas era at Villanova, the Wildcats are 30-16 (.652) at home in league play, including a stellar 23-11 (.676) in The Pavilion.

The Villanova Wildcats have recorded a mark of 25-21 (.543) on the road in Big East Conference match-ups under Lappas, including a stellar record of 23-14 (.622) over the last four years, and a 1-0 mark this season after a 73-69 win at Georgetown.

Big East 
Season  Record  Road    Home
1997-98 2-0     1-0     1-0 (1-0 Pavilion / 0-0 Phila.)
1996-97 12-6    5-4     7-2 (4-1 Pavilion / 3-1 Phila.)
1995-96 14-4    6-3     8-1 (7-0 Pavilion / 1-1 Phila.)
1994-95 14-4    6-3     8-1 (6-1 Pavilion / 2-0 Phila.)
1993-94 10-8    5-4     5-4 (4-3 Pavilion / 1-1 Phila.)
1992-93 3-15    2-7     1-8 (1-6 Pavilion / 0-2 Phila.)
Totals  55-37   25-21   30-16 (23-11 Pavilion / 7-5 Phila.)

From the Training Room
Villanova sophomore Brian Lynch missed both the Bradley and Georgetown contests due to a strained right achilles, but returned to practice following the game with the Hoyas and dressed for Seton Hall. Lynch injured the foot in practice the week prior to the Wildcats' game with the Braves. This marks the second time in his career he has been missing from the lineup due to injury, as he sprained his thumb a season ago and did not play in three games. Additionally, walk-on Brian Noone did not dress for the third-consecutive game versus Seton Hall due to a fractured left index finger.

75 is the Magic Number
Prior to the 1997-98 campaign, over the past five seasons under head coach Steve Lappas, the Wildcats are 72-12 (.857) in games where they have scored 75 points or better. In 1996-97, the Wildcats were 15-3 when hitting a score of 75. Last year, Villanova was 16-1 when producing 75+ points. During the 1994-95 season, they tallied a 19-1 record in such games, while they were 13-4 in 1993-94 and 8-3 in 1992-93.

With four games only gone in the 1997-98 season, the Wildcats have yet to reach 75. However, they surpassed 70 twice and won both games.

Starting from Scratch
The Wildcats are virtually starting from scratch this season, with only one starter returning to the 1997-98 lineup, as Chuck Kornegay, Jason Lawson, Tim Thomas, and Alvin Williams have all departed. Combined, the quartet amassed 4,244 career points and 2,142 career rebounds during their varied tenures at Villanova. In addition, the Wildcat seniors from a year ago (Kornegay, Lawson, Williams) compiled 95 victories during their four-year stint, the most wins by a class in school history. The class of '97 surpassed the class of '85, which posted a record of 92-38 and won the NCAA title.

John Celestand is back as a starter at guard, and is Villanova's leading returning scorer as well with an average of 8.3 ppg from a year ago. Only 30.2 percent of the Wildcats' scoring from a year ago returns, as well as only 30.4 percent of their rebounding. Howard Brown and Malik Allen are the team's leading returning rebounders with an average of 2.9 rpg each from last season.

Villanova and the NBA Last season, three Villanova players were taken in the NBA Draft's two rounds, the highest number from any school in the nation. Tim Thomas was selected with the No. 7 pick by the New Jersey Nets, and was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, while Jason Lawson was chosen with the No. 46 selection by the Denver Nuggets. He, too, was traded later in the evening to the Orlando Magic. Alvin Williams went to the Portland Trail Blazers with the No. 48 pick.

In addition, over the last two years, Villanova has had four players selected in the Draft, with Kerry Kittles chosen by New Jersey with the No. 8 pick. Those four players selected in two years rates as the nation's second-highest number (Kentucky with six is first).

Turning it Around
Villanova head coach Steve Lappas has made winning the norm on the Main Line during the last four years, as the Wildcats compiled 95 wins during that time and won the NIT Championship, the Big East Tournament title, the Big East regular-season crown, set a school record for wins in a single season, and earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament each of the last three seasons. Prior to his arrival on campus, Villanova had not recorded a 20-win season since the 1987-88 campaign when Rollie Massimino's squad finished 24-13 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament's Final Eight.

The Last Four Years Under Lappas
    1993-94 20-12 overall
    1994-95 25-8 overall
    1995-96 26-7 overall
    1996-97 24-10 overall

Lappas and Non-Conference Opponents
Currently in his sixth season at the helm of the Wildcat program, head coach Steve Lappas has posted a mark of 44-16 (.733) versus non-conference opponents during his tenure. In his first year on the Main Line, the Wildcats were 5-3; in 1993-94 Villanova recorded a mark of 10-3 in non-Big East games. In 1994-95, the Wildcats registered a mark of 8-3, and in 1995-96 they were 11-2 out of conference. Last season, Lappas posted a mark of 10-3 in non-league contests, while Villanova is 0-2 in 1997-98.

New Faces
Each of the past two seasons, Steve Lappas has lost his top assistant to another school. In 1996, John Leonard departed from the Main Line to accept the head coaching position at Manhattan College, his alma mater. This spring, Paul Hewitt took over the reigns of the program at Siena College. With the vacancy on the staff this year, Lappas hired Joe Jones away from Hofstra University. In addition, Peter Zaharis was promoted to assistant coach from his administrative assistant position when Jimmy Salmon departed. The constant through all these changes has been assistant Steve Pinone, a 1987 Villanova graduate and member of the 1985 NCAA Champion squad. Pinone has been with Lappas since 1991, joining him while he was at Manhattan College.

Spreading the Wealth
Villanova has had a different leading scorer in each of its four games this season. In the opener versus Minnesota, Zeffy Penn led the Wildcats with 13 points. Howard Brown then posted team-high numbers with a 14-point performance against Bradley, while Malik Allen led all scorers against Georgetown. John Celestand was the fourth leading scorer in as many games for Villanova against Seton Hall when he registered a career-high 19 against the Pirates.

Holley to Redshirt
Freshman Johnny Holley, a 6-foot-6 forward from McKinney, Texas, will redshirt the 1997-98 season due to knee problems. Holley played in only one game this season, seeing limited action against Bradley.

1997-98 Big East Predictions
Syracuse and Connecticut are the choices of the Big East Conference head coaches to win the 1997-98 division titles. Syracuse is picked to win the Big East 7 Division, receiving 10 first-place votes and 81 points. Connecticut garnered nine first-place votes and 69 points to earn the Big East 6 champion, narrowly edging St. John's with 63 points and four first-place votes. Following is the results of the tally:

Team Highs & Lows

POINTS          High    33  Georgetown (12/3/97)    
(First Half)    Low     16  Minnesota (11/14/97)

POINTS          High    43  Seton Hall (12/6/97)
(Second Half)   Low     25  Bradley (11/29/97)      

TOTAL POINTS    High    73  Georgetown (12/3/97)    
                Low     48  Bradley (11/29/97)

FIELD GOALS     High    26  Minnesota (11/14/97)
                        Seton Hall (12/6/97)    
                Low     19  Bradley (11/29/97)  

FG ATTEMPTS     High    68  Minnesota (11/14/97)    
                Low     51  Bradley (11/29/97)  

FG PCT          High    .464    Seton Hall (12/6/97)    
                Low     .373    Bradley (11/29/97)

3-PT FG         High    10  Seton Hall (12/6/97)    
                Low     1   Minnesota (11/14/97)    

3-PT FG ATTS.   High    25  Seton Hall (12/6/97)
                Low     17  Georgetown (12/3/97)    

FREE THROWS     High    22  Georgetown (12/3/97)    
                Low     2   Minnesota (11/14/97)    

FT ATTEMPTS     High    30  Georgetown (12/3/97)    
                Low     4   Minnesota (11/14/97)    

FT PCT.         High    .833    Seton Hall (12/6/97)    
                Low     .500    Minnesota (11/14/97)
                                Bradley (11/29/97)  

REBOUNDS        High    47  Minnesota (11/14/97)    
                Low     29  Bradley (11/29/97)

ASSISTS         High    20  Seton Hall (12/6/97)
                Low     11  Bradley (11/29/97)  

TURNOVERS   High    21  Bradley (11/29/97)
                        Georgetown (12/3/97)
            Low     12  Seton Hall (12/6/97)
BLOCKS      High    6   Minnesota (11/14/97)    
            Low     4   Bradley (11/29/97)
                        Georgetown (12/3/97)
STEALS  High    8   Bradley (11/29/97)  
        Low     5   Minnesota (11/14/97)
                    Georgetown (12/3/97)
                    Seton Hall (12/6/97)

Individual Season Highs

TOTAL POINTS    19  John Celestand (Seton Hall)
FIELD GOALS     7   Howard Brown (Seton Hall)

FG ATTEMPTS     15  Marvin O'Connor (Bradley)

FG PERCENTAGE   100.0   Rafal Bigus (4-4)(Georgetown)
                66.7    Rafal Bigus (6-9)(Minnesota)
                63.6    Howard Brown (7-11)(Seton Hall) 

3-PT FG     5   Jermaine Medley (Seton Hall)

3-PT FG ATTEMPTS    8   Jermaine Medley (Seton Hall)

FREE THROWS     8   Malik Allen (Georgetown)    

FT ATTEMPTS     9   John Celestand (8-9)(Seton Hall)    

FT PERCENTAGE   1.000   Malik Allen (8-8)(Georgetown)

REBOUNDS    11  Zeffy Penn (Minnesota)                  
ASSISTS     7   John Celestand (Seton Hall)                 
TURNOVERS   6   John Celestand (Minnesota)
                John Celestand (Georgetown) 

BLOCKS  4   Rafal Bigus (Minnesota) 

STEALS  3   Malik Allen (Bradley)
            Zeffy Penn (Seton Hall)

Key Player Profiles

#15 Malik Allen
Medford, N.J.
Made exceptional strides during the offseason ... Started every Villanova game at power forward ... Averaging 8.8 ppg and a team-best 6.8 rpg ... Third on the team in scoring ... Posted a career-high 16 points against Georgetown to go with a game-high eight rebounds ... Converted a career-high eight-for-eight from the foul line against the Hoyas, including four in the final 1:06 to put Villanova up by four and help secure the win ... Played a career-high 33 minutes against Georgetown ... Scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds versus Minnesota ... Shot four-for-eight in the contest ... Team leader in rebounding twice this season, versus Bradley and Georgetown ... Set career-high with three steals versus the Braves.

Pottstown, Pa.
Extremely hardworking player with great intensity ... Great competitor ... Started two games this season, with first start of the year coming at Georgetown ... Averaging 10.3 ppg and 5.0 rpg ... Second on the team in scoring and third in rebounding ... Has registered three-straight double-figure scoring outings, averaging 13.7 ppg during that time ... Posted a season-high 16 points against Seton Hall, hitting seven-of-11 from the field, the best shooting performance of his career and a personal-best for made field goals in a single game ... Also grabbed eight rebounds, dished out a career-high six assists and had no turnovers in a career-high 34 minutes versus Seton Hall ... Contributed 11 points on five-of-nine shooting from the field, six rebounds and three assists against the Hoyas ... Hit huge basket against Georgetown as the shot clock expired in the final 2:27 of the game, and had two defensive rebounds in the closing minutes of the game ... Saw most extensive action of the season against Georgetown, playing 32 minutes ... Has registered back-to-back double-figure scoring outings ... Villanova's leading scorer versus Bradley, posting 14 points on five-for-eight shooting from the field ... Hit a career-best four-of-five from three-point range, personal-highs for treys made and percentage ... Played 24 minutes versus Bradley ... Also led the team in assists with four, tying a career-best.

#31 Rafal Bigus
Stargard, Poland
Good offensive skills ... Started every Villanova game this season at center ... Averaging 7.8 ppg and 6.0 rpg ... Fourth on the team in scoring and second in rebounding ... Hitting a team-best .591 percent from the field ... Started against Georgetown despite a painful hip pointer and played an outstanding first half, hitting all four shots from the field ... Scored 12 points on six-of-nine shooting and grabbed nine rebounds against Minnesota ... Tied career-high for points versus Minnesota, and reset personal-bests for blocks (four) and field goals (six) ... Tallied a season-best nine boards twice, against Minnesota and Seton Hall ... Scored six points and grabbed two rebounds in the final seven minutes of the Wildcats' contest with Seton Hall to help Villanova pull away.

Piscataway, N.J.
Started every Villanova game ... Started at the point versus Minnesota, and at the two since then ... Averaging 12.0 ppg and 4.8 rpg ... First on the team in scoring, fourth in rebounding, second in steals and first in assists ... Registered three-straight double-figure scoring outings, averaging 14.7 ppg during that time ...Tied career-high for points with a game-high 19-point effort against Seton Hall (matching previous best of 19 versus Georgetown as a freshman), the most by a Wildcat this season ... Shot five-for-nine in the game and posted a season-high seven assists, the most by any Wildcat this season ... Had 15 points against Georgetown in one of the best games of his career ... Controlled the game and did an excellent job handling the tough Georgetown pressure ... Also had a season-high seven rebounds and hit five-of-eight from the foul line ... Played a career-high 40 minutes against Bradley and scored 10 points.

Wilmington, Del.
Very talented point guard with great shooting ability ... Possesses great range ... Started three contests and played in every Wildcat game this season ... Averaging 5.0 ppg and 2.0 rpg ... Has shown improvement in each game this season ... Broke out against Seton Hall, connecting on five three-pointers on only eight attempts to score a career-high 15 points ... Five treys is the most by a Wildcat freshman in school history, while his percentage from behind the arc is the best for a rookie since Kerry Kittles hit four-of-six (.667) versus Syracuse on Feb. 23, 1993 (Kittles also hit four-for-four as a frosh versus Lehigh on Dec. 28, 1992) ... Played a career-high 31 minutes against the Pirates ... Hit first three of his career against Georgetown ... Played 15 minutes versus Minnesota and scored four points, grabbed four rebounds, and dished out three assists ... Started at the point guard spot versus Bradley and played 17 minutes in the game.

Philadelphia, Pa.
Bright spot early for Villanova ... Played in every Wildcat game this season, posting double figures in scoring twice ... Averaging 6.5 ppg and 2.3 rpg ... Fifth on the team in scoring ... Hit first three-pointer of his career against Seton Hall ... Scored 10 points on five-for-11 shooting versus Minnesota ... Also grabbed two steals in the game ... Registered 11 points versus Bradley in 26 minutes, both career-bests ... Played 19 minutes against Georgetown and grabbed four rebounds, dished out two assists and had no turnovers.

Harrisburg, Pa.
Team captain and crowd favorite ... Returns for final season after spending 1996-97 season out as a redshirt ... Extremely active in the community ... Graduated in the spring with a degree in education, and is currently student-teaching at Furness High School in Philadelphia (10th grade) ... Also studying to become a Eucharistic Minister and serves as an academic mentor at Villanova ... Starter at the small forward spot for Villanova in first two games of the season ... Moved back to his sixth man role versus Georgetown to come off the bench and be extremely productive (10 points, four-for-six shooting, three boards, two assists, two steals) ... Averaging 6.3 ppg and 4.5 rpg ... Sixth on the team in scoring and fourth on the team in rebounding ... First on the squad in steals with seven, including a career-high three versus Seton Hall ... Team leader in scoring with 13 points and posted game-high numbers in rebounding with 11 boards versus Minnesota ... Shot five-for-11 in the game and hit the Wildcats' only three against the Gophers ... Registered career-highs versus the Gophers in five categories: 13 points, 11 rebounds, 33 minutes, 1 trey, and five field goals.

Winthrop, Maine
Good shooter ... Very tough player ... Played in every game this season for Villanova ... Averaging 3.5 ppg and 1.3 rpg ... Scored in three-straight games on the season ... Registered a season-high 22 minutes versus Seton Hall and scored five points ... Posted four points, two boards, three assists, one steal and no turnovers in the Wildcats' win over Georgetown.