Jan. 1, 2009
BIG EAST OPENERS
Villanova opened conference play on the road for the fourth consecutive season and dropped its third straight Big East opener to fall to 4-4 in such games under head coach Jay Wright. The Wildcats opened last season with a loss at DePaul and began conference play with a loss to West Virginia in 2006-07. Villanova is 19-11 overall in BIG EAST openers.
BACK AND FORTH
There were eight ties and five lead changes in the first half of today's game and when all was said and done the game featured 10 ties and nine lead changes. Marquette took the lead for good with 9:38 remaining on a three-pointer by Dominic James that made the score 52-50.
The speed and athleticism of both teams in today's game caused problems for the other side. Villanova entered the game averaging just 11.8 turnovers per game for the season but had 10 miscues in the first half and finished with 16 turnovers, its second-highest total of the year. Last season, the Wildcats season-high for turnovers in a game was 23, which came against Marquette in an 85-75 loss at the Wachovia Center on February 25.
Meanwhile, Marquette had committed just 13.2 turnovers per game on the season prior to this afternoon's contest, but tied a season-high count in the game. The Golden Eagles finished with a total of 19 turnovers. In the game, the Wildcats tallied nine steals, with four players coming up with at least two swipes.
HER CONTINUES STRONG PLAY
Sophomore guard Corey Fisher had his second strong game in as many outings. After matching a career-high with 23 points on 7-of-8 shooting in a win over Temple on Monday night, Fisher returned this afternoon against Marquette to put up 21 points with five rebounds and two steals. He finished 6-of-14 from the field, made 1-of-3 three-pointers and hit 8-of-11 free throws. The past two games mark the first time in Fisher's career he has had back-to-back 20-point outings.
The Wildcats all-time record against Marquette is now 6-6, though the Golden Eagles have won three of the four meetings since they joined the BIG EAST for the 2005-06 season. Marquette has won the past three meetings since Villanova posted a 72-67 win at The Pavilion on February 4, 2006. This year marks the first time the teams will have a repeat meeting in conference play, as the Golden Eagles come to The Pavilion on February 10 for another nationally-televised contest.
TRAILING AT THE HALF
Villanova has trailed at the half in both of its losses this season, though the team is 2-2 overall when going into the break facing a deficit. The Wildcats overcame margins of nine points and three points, respectively, at the half in Philadelphia Big Five wins over Saint Joseph's and Temple. Villanova trailed by six points at the break in a 67-58 loss to Texas on December 9 in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden. The Wildcats were 6-10 last season when trailing at the break.
DEFENSIVE STREAK ENDS
Entering today's BIG EAST opener against Marquette, the Wildcats had not allowed more than 68 points in any of their first 13 games. The streak ended when the Golden Eagles had 79 points in today's victory. The last time Villanova went this far into the season before allowing at least 70 points for the first time came all the way back in 1948-49 when the Wildcats also allowed 70 points for the first time in their 14th game of the year, a 75-43 loss to Loyola (Ill.). The year before that, Villanova did not allow 70 points until the 16th game of the 1947-48 season and in 1946-47 the team went the entire 24-game season without allowing 70 or more points.