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Jan. 8, 1998

Villanova to Take on Seton Hall

John Celestand
John Celestand

(7-5 Overall, 4-0 Big East)
(7-7 Overall, 1-3 Big East)

Jan. 10, 1998 - Noon (ET)
E. Rutherford, N.J. - Continental Airlines Arena (20,029)

Last Time Out
Villanova: The Wildcats won a thriller in overtime, 68-65, over Boston College on Tuesday night at The Pavilion. Villanova had to come from 17 points down to earn the win, powered by 17 point from John Celestand, 13 from Brian Lynch, and 12 from Howard Brown. Duane Woodward led the Eagles with a career-high 27 points and nine boards. Villanova shot 42.6 percent from the floor, while Boston College converted 39.7 percent. After trailing by 14 at halftime, the Wildcats took their first lead of thegame at the 11:50 mark, but BC jumped back out in front by eight. The Wildats fought back again, on five points from Brown, and took the lead, 54-53, on a Celestand jumper, but BC tied it up with seven seconds left on two Granger foul shots. Lynch scored seven points in the extra period and Malik Allen had a big blocked shot to seal the win.
Seton Hall: Seton Hall fell to Rutgers, 81-49, on Wednesday in Piscataway. Rob Hodgson led the Scarlet Knights with 16 points, while Rimas Kaukenas was high scorer in the game with 17 points. Seton Hall shot only 26.2 percent from the floor in the game, while Rutgers converted 48.3 percent and outrebounded the Pirates 42-38.

Villanova-Seton Hall College Series Notes
Villanova leads the all-time series with Seton Hall, 52-32, with the two teams first meeting on Feb. 3, 1921, and the Pirates winning 28-14 on their home court. In Big East Conference regular-season games, Villanova leads 22-12, including a 72-57 victory earlier this season at The Pavilion. Villanova has won three-straight games and five of the past six meetings, and each team has won seven games at the Continental Airlines Arena. Additionally, the Wildcats captured 14-straight games when Big East play began, and the Pirates won eight-straight from 1988-91. Steve Lappas is 5-4 versus Seton Hall, while Tommy Amaker is 0-1 versus Villanova.

Next Up
Villanova: Villanova hosts Georgetown at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 12, 1998 at The CoreStates Center. The game will air on ESPN.
Seton Hall: The Pirates travel to Storrs, Conn., for a Jan. 13 date with the Huskies.

Probable Villanova Starters
No. Pos.    Name                            PPG     RPG
#15 F       Malik Allen (So., 6-10, 240)    10.8    8.3
#22 F       HOWARD BROWN (Jr., 6-5, 200)    12.1    5.5
#31 C       Rafal Bigus (Jr., 7-1, 270)      9.8    5.5
#13 G       John Celestand (Jr., 6-3, 175)  13.5    4.1
#10 G       JERMAINE MEDLEY (Fr., 6-0, 185)  6.3    1.5

Probable Seton Hall Starters
No. Pos.    Name                             PPG    RPG
#21 F       RIMAS KAUKENAS (So., 6-4, 185)   8.1    3.1
#41 F       DONNELL WILLIAMS (Sr., 6-7, 221)13.8    4.5
#4  C       DUANE JORDAN (Jr., 6-8, 218)     4.2    5.6
#10 G       S. HOLLOWAY (So., 5-10, 175)    14.9    3.7
#20 G       LEVELL SANDERS (Sr., 6-2, 191)  17.1    3.7

The Coaches
Villanova   Steve Lappas 
        109-61 (.641) / 6 yrs. (VU)
        165-123 (.573) / 10 yrs.
Seton Hall  Tommy Amaker

Not for a While
Villanova's contest versus Boston College marked the first time the Wildcats played an overtime game in nearly two years. The last time Villanova went into the extra period was on January 29, 1996, when the Wildcats defeated Syracuse 72-69 in the Carrier Dome. Under head coach Steve Lappas, Villanova is 6-5 in overtime games, including a 6-2 mark from the 1993-94 season on.

Lynch Comes Through
Brian Lynch put in one of the finest efforts of his career versus Boston College on Tuesday, scoring a career-high 13 points to help the Wildcats to an overtime victory over the Eagles. The Belmar, N.J., native, hit a personal-best eight-of-eight from the foul line and had seven points in the extra period to fuel Villanova to the 68-65 win. Additionally, Lynch had a season-high four rebounds and an assist and a steal.

Retiring #30
At the West Virginia game on Jan. 18, 1998, the Villanova Athletic Department will have a special pregame ceremony in honor of former Wildcat Kerry Kittles, retiring his #30 jersey. Kittles played from 1992-96 and earned first-team All-America honors as well as Big East Player of the Year. In addition, he rates as the school's all-time leading scorer with 2,243 career points and all-time steals leader with 277 thefts during his tenure. Kittles was a lottery selection in 1996 by the New Jersey Nets and is currently a starter for the NBA team.

Big Play from the Big Men
Wildcat post players Rafal Bigus and Malik Allen have been shooting exceptionally well from the field over the past five games. The duo has combined for 133 points and 60 rebounds in the quartet of games on 53-of-74 (.716) shooting. Bigus is averaging 14.0 ppg during the five-game span on 29-of-36 shooting (.806). Allen, meanwhile is averaging 12.6 ppg on 24-of-38 (.632) shooting against the five opponents.
Bigus currently rates as the Wildcats' best shooter from the field, converting a team-high 69.1 percent from the floor (47-for-68).

More on Malik
At this stage of the season, Malik Allen is opening eyes as one of the most improved players in the Big East Conference. The sophomore forward is averaging 10.5 points per contest and 8.3 rebounds per game, up considerably from 2.0 ppg and 2.9 rpg as a freshman a year ago. He's ranked sixth in the Big East in rebounding, and fifth in the league in blocked shots. The Shawnee High School product has registered six double-figure scoring outings, two double-figure rebounding outings and reset his career high twice already this season. Allen broke his previous high of 17 points versus Duke against Boston College on Dec. 30, 1997, hitting for 21 points on nine-of-11 shooting (career bests in scoring, shooting, and field goals made and attempted). Allen scored nine points in the final six minutes of the contest and 17 in the second half to lead his team from behind.

Experimenting with the Lineup
Villanova head coach Steve Lappas has utilized four different starting lineups this season. The constants have been Malik Allen, Rafal Bigus, and John Celestand, while Marvin O'Connorhas been inserted at the two guard position against Boston College at home 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  6-3
(F) Allen, (F) Brown, (C) Bigus, (G) Celestand (G) O'Connor 1-0

At Home and on the Road in the Big East
Over the last four years (1994-present), Villanova has recorded a mark of 25-4 (.862) at home in Big East Conference regular-season contests. In Big East games in The Pavilion during that time, the Wildcats are 19-2 (.905). During the Steve Lappas era at Villanova, the Wildcats are 31-16 (.659) at home in league play, including a stellar 24-11 (.686) in The Pavilion.
The Villanova Wildcats have recorded a mark of 26-21 (.553) on the road in Big East Conference match-ups under Lappas, including a stellar record of 24-14 (.632) over the last four years, and a 2-0 mark this season wins at Georgetown and BC.

Big East 
Season  Record  Road    Home
1997-98 4-0     2-0     2-0 (2-0 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  57-37   26-21   31-16 (24-11 Pavilion / 7-5 Phila.)

Strange Scheduling
The Wildcats will play their first six Big East Conference games against the same three squads in 1997-98, facing Georgetown, Boston College, and Seton Hall. Villanova, currently 4-0 in league games, has defeated each team thus far, including two wins over the Eagles. Following today's contest with the Pirates, Villanova will play Georgetown on Monday night at the CoreStates Center.

The Best Since ...
When Villanova and Boston College played at Conte Forum on Dec. 30, 1997, the Wildcats shot 61.8 percent from the field, at the time its third-straight game of shooting 50 percent or better from the field. The Wildcats converted 34-of-55 from the field, their best shooting effort since the Wildcats set a school record at the famous 1985 NCAA title game versus Georgetown. On April 1, 1985, Villanova shot 22-of-28 (.786) to defeat the Hoyas and sit atop college basketball's throne.

Wildcats on the Tube
During the Lappas tenure on the Main Line, Villanova has made 54 appearances on five national television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, CBS, ABC, and NBC). The Wildcats have recorded a mark of 32-22 (.593) in those games, including an 11-14 record on ESPN. Villanova is 9-1 on ESPN2, 9-7 on CBS, 1-0 on ABC, and 2-0 on NBC during the six Lappas years.

Home, Sweet, Home
The Wildcats have recorded 37-straight sellouts in their on-campus arena, The Pavilion, and boast a record of 96-35 (.733) in the building since it opened in 1986. From the 1994-95 season on, Villanova is 34-3 (.919) in The Pavilion, including an 19-2 (.905) mark in Big East Conference match-ups.

Career-High for Caouette
Sophomore forward T.J. Caouette came off the bench versus La Salle to post a career-high 13 points on five-of-six shooting from the field. Caouette's shooting performance rates as the best of career and his most single-game field goals. The Winthrop, Maine, native, played 15 minutes in the contest and also hit both three-point attempts versus the Explorers. His previous scoring best came last year in the NCAA Tournament, 11 points versus Long Island.

75 is the Magic Number
Over the past six seasons under head coach Steve Lappas, the Wildcats are 74-12 (.860) 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. Villanova is 3-0 in 1997-98 when they score 75 or better.

Comparing the Stats
So far this season, Villanova's offensive output has differed greatly depending on where the game has been played. In six home contests (5-1 record), the Wildcats have shot a combined 159-for-341 from the field (.466) and averaged 76.8 points per game. In contrast, in six road games (2-4 record), Villanova is shooting 154-for-355 from the floor (.434) and averaging only 65.0 points per game. The Wildcats did break the trend at Boston College last Tuesday night, hitting a season-high 61.8 percent and winning 83-76 over the Eagles.

Starting from Scratch
The Wildcats were virtually starting from scratch prior to the start of the 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.

Lappas Versus Ranked Opponents
Under head coach Steve Lappas, the Wildcats have recorded a mark of 17-16 (.515) against nationally-ranked teams, including a record of 13-9 (.590) over the past four years. This season, the Wildcats have split against nationally-ranked squads, defeating No. 16 Temple (68-57) on Dec. 16, 1997, and falling to No. 1Duke on Dec. 10 (L 94-66).

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

Rookie Starter
Marvin O'Connor made his first collegiate start versus Boston College on Jan. 6, 1998, becoming the second freshman this season to take a crack at the starting lineup. Jermaine Medley started 10 games this season before O'Connor replaced him versus the Eagles. Under head coach Steve Lappas eight freshman have started at least one game during their rookie seasons.

Stepping Up
Junior Howard Brown has established himself as the most consistent player for the Wildcats this season, stepping up his play in his third year on the Main Line. Brown has posted double figures in seven games this season and is averaging 12.1 ppg, the second-highest number on the team. He's shot better than 50 percent from the field six times, and 40 percent or better from behind the arc six times. He's led the team in scoring three times, assists four times and blocks three times, and rates as the best shooting wing on the Wildcat squad with a percentage of .495 (54-for-109). He's ranked fourth in the Big East in three-point shooting, and seven of his top 10 career shooting performances have come this season. Additionally, the Pottstown, Pa., native, boasts the best three-point shooting percentage (.420) on the squad, as well as the most made three-pointers with 21. Brown's excellent shooting this season is markedly improved from his previous two seasons (35.8 in 1996, 39.2 in 1997).

Brown's Best Career Shooting Performances*
1.  77.8    7-for-9     20 points   Fla. Int'l (12/27/97)
2.  66.7    4-for-6     8 points    Miami (1/27/96)
3.  63.6    7-for-11    16 points   Seton Hall (12/6/97)
4.  62.5    5-for-8     14 points   Bradley (11/29/97)
    62.5    5-for-8     10 points   UNC-Wilm. (12/30/96)
6.  60.0    6-for-10    15 points   BC (12/30/97)
    60.0    6-for-10    18 points   St. Joseph's (12/23/96)
8.  55.6    5-for-9     11 points   Georgetown (12/3/97)
    55.6    5-for-9     13 points   Connecticut (2/23/97)
10.  54.5   6-for-11    19 points   Temple (12/16/97)
*minimum four made field goals; italics indicate 1997-98 season

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 47-19 (.712) 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 3-5 in 1997-98.

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).

Team Highs & Lows
POINTS          High    42  Fla. International (12/22/97)   
                            Hofstra (12/27/97)
(First Half)    Low     16  Minnesota (11/14/97)

POINTS          High    61  Fla. International (12/22/97)
(Second Half)   Low     25  Bradley (11/29/97)      

TOTAL POINTS    High    103 Fla. International (12/22/97)   
                Low     48  Bradley (11/29/97)

FIELD GOALS     High    39  Fla. International (12/22/97)   
                Low     19  Bradley (11/29/97)  

FG ATTEMPTS     High    71  Duke (12/10/97) 
                Low     47  Hofstra (12/27/97)  

FG PCT          High    .618    Boston College (12/30/97)
                        .600    Fla. International (12/22/97)   
                Low     .333    Duke (12/13/97)

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

3-PT FG ATTS.   High    40  Hofstra (12/27/97)
                Low     11  Hofstra (12/27/97)  

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    .889    Fla. International (12/22/97)   
                Low     .500    Minnesota (11/14/97)
                                Bradley (11/29/97)  

REBOUNDS        High    47  Minnesota (11/14/97)    
                Low     27  Boston College (12/30/97)

ASSISTS         High    28  Fla. International (12/22/97)
                Low     11  Bradley (11/29/97)  

TURNOVERS       High    23  Fla. International (12/22/97)
                Low     12  Seton Hall (12/6/97)
                            Boston College (12/30/97)
BLOCKS          High    7   Hofstra (12/27/97)  
                Low     2   Duke (12/0/97)
STEALS          High    11  New Orleans (12/13/97)  
                Low     4   Temple (12/16/97)
Season Highs
VILLANOVA TOTAL POINTS 22 John Celestand (New Orleans) 21 Malik Allen (Boston College) 20 Howard Brown (Hofstra) 20 John Celestand (Fla. International) 19 Rafal Bigus (Fla. International) 19 Howard Brown (Temple) 19 John Celestand (Seton Hall) FIELD GOALS 9 Malik Allen (Boston College) John Celestand (New Orleans) FG ATTEMPTS 23 John Celestand (New Orleans) FG PERCENTAGE 100.0 Rafal Bigus (4-4)(Georgetown) 87.5 Rafal Bigus (7-8)(La Salle) 83.3 T.J. Caouette (5-6)(La Salle) 81.8 Malik Allen (9-11)(Boston College) 77.8 Howard Brown (7-9)(Hofstra) 77.8 Rafal Bigus (7-9)(Fla. International) 75.0 Rafal Bigus (6-8)(Boston College) 75.0 Rafal Bigus (6-8)(Hofstra) 72.7 John Celestand (8-11)(Fla. Int.) 66.7 Malik Allen (6-9)(Fla. International) 66.7 Rafal Bigus (6-9)(Minnesota) 63.6 Howard Brown (7-11)(Seton Hall) 62.5 Marvin O'Connor (5-8)(N. Orleans) 3-PT FG 5 Jermaine Medley (Seton Hall) 4 John Celestand (Fla. International) 4 Howard Brown (Bradley) 4 Howard Brown (Temple) 3-PT FG ATTEMPTS 10 John Celestand (New Orleans) FREE THROWS 8 Malik Allen (Georgetown) FT ATTEMPTS 14 John Celestand (7-14)(Hofstra) FT PERCENTAGE 1.000 Brian Lynch (8-8)(Boston College 2) Malik Allen (8-8)(Georgetown) John Celestand (6-6)(Temple) Rafal Bigus (5-5)(Fla. International) REBOUNDS 16 Malik Allen (Duke) ASSISTS 7 John Celestand (Seton Hall) John Celestand (Boston College) TURNOVERS 7 John Celestand (Boston College 2) John Celestand (Duke) BLOCKS 5 Malik Allen (Boston College 2) STEALS 4 John Celestand (La Salle)