Cats Overcome Early Deficit To Beat Seton Hall
Jan. 17, 2006
The Wildcats (12-2, 3-1 Big East) sorely needed this one after their roughest week of the season. They sandwiched a tougher-than-expected overtime win at Rutgers between losses against then No. 24-West Virginia and then-No. 8 Texas and tumbled five spots in The Associated Press' Top 25.
After shooting a miserable 27 percent against the Longhorns on Saturday, the Wildcats rebounded with a decent 43 percent and had five players in double digits.
Villanova got 12 points from Will Sheridan, the only true frontcourt player in its four-guard starting lineup. Often left to do the little noticed dirty work - like setting screens and boxing out - the 6-foot-8 Sheridan worked hard for tough baskets inside and got to the free-throw line seven times.
He also had two nice blocked shots that deflated Seton Hall's offense. Nearly unstoppable while building a 16-point first-half lead, the Pirates (9-6, 1-3) came crashing back and shot only 31 percent in the second half.
After committing only three turnovers in the first half, Seton Hall made seven in the opening 10 minutes of the second and it missed four of 11 shots to let Villanova grab a 55-51 lead.
The Pirates scored only two baskets in a 15-minute stretch in the second half and could do little defensively as Foye bounced back from a 3-for-15 effort against Texas. He hit a 3-pointer late in the game that gave the Wildcats a 61-54 lead and sank one free throw after they forced a turnover.
Sheridan then had one of the plays of the game, coming out of nowhere for a follow on a 3-point miss that made it 64-54.
Allan Ray, though, has really fallen into a slump for the Wildcats. He was averaging 20.1 points four games ago, but his 3-for-12, 10-point effort against Seton Hall made him 11-for-46 for 30 points in the last three games.
Donald Copeland led Seton Hall with 14 points, Paul Gause had 13 and Kelly Whitney 12.
Seton Hall's 61 percent shooting from the floor in the first half was 20 percent higher than its season average. About a dozen of the Pirates' 17 baskets were from inside 4 feet and they scored an astounding 24 points in the paint.
Villanova coach Jay Wright pulled Foye less than two minutes into the game for 6-foot-9 center Dante Cunningham, looking for someone who could slow down Whitney. Whitney dunked his way to six easy baskets and all 12 of his points.
When Gause hit a short jumper late in the first half, the Pirates took a 29-13 lead. Foye, though, scored five straight points to pull the Wildcats to 41-35 at halftime.