Villanova 102, Notre Dame 87
Jan. 17, 2007
Notre Dame is the second ranked team the Wildcats have played this season. Villanova's first ranked opponent of the season was No. 25 (AP) West Virginia on January 3, a game that the Mountaineers won 67-56.
Villanova pulled out to a 50-40 halftime lead on the strength of 58.8 percent shooting (20-of-34) in the opening 20 minutes. That shooting percentage marked the first time the Wildcats shot at least 50 percent in a half since the second half against Temple, when Villanova went 17-of-30 (56.7%). The Wildcats have shot at least 50 percent in a half 11 times this season, including three times over 60 percent.
The Wildcats scored 50 points in the first half of tonight's game, which is the second-most they have scored before halftime all season. Villanova scored 56 points in the opening period of a 97-60 win over Northwood University in its season opener. The Wildcats have scored at least 50 points in a half five times this season - three of those occasions have been in the second half.
Sophomore forward Dante Cunningham scored a career-high 19 points in tonight's game. For the evening, Cunningham was 7-of-11 from the field and 5-of-7 from the foul line. It marked the fourth game in his career that Cunningham scored in double figures (all four occasions have been this season). This year, the Wildcats are 11-0 when Cunningham attempts at least four field goals in a game and 1-5 when he attempts fewer than four field goals.
Tonight's game marked the sixth time this season that at least four different Wildcats scored in double figures. Villanova had six players reach double figures on December 20 against Rider and have had four in double figures in five contests, including tonight. Freshman Scottie Reynolds scored a team-high 27 points, while senior Curtis Sumpter added 21 points. Sophomore Dante Cunningham had 19 points and senior Mike Nardi scored 18 points.
Villanova had not scored more than 65 points in any of its first four BIG EAST games this season, and averaged just 60.3 points per game in its first four conference outings. That changed with tonight's contest, as the Wildcats shot over 50 percent and scored xx points in the win over the Fighting Irish. It was the most points that the Wildcats had scored in a conference game since a 92-82 win over Syracuse on March 5, 2006.
With its scoring output in tonight's game, Villanova set a new team record for the most points scored in a BIG EAST game at the Pavilion. The Wildcats had previously scored 98 points against Seton Hall in a victory on December 5, 1994. The most points the team has ever scored in a conference game is 110 points against Rutgers on January 18, 2003 at the Rutgers Athletic Center.
The 15 three-pointers made by Notre Dame in tonight's game were the most made by a Wildcat opponent this season, but didn't come close to the record for three-pointers in a game by a Villanova opponent. On November 22, 2003, Redlands made 24 three-pointers in a game that the Wildcats won 114-103.
Villanova reached the 100-point plateau for the second time this season, adding to its 108-61 victory over Rider on December 20. The Wildcats have scored 100 points 56 times in their history, including seven times in the head coaching tenure of Jay Wright.
At halftime of tonight's game Villanova honored its women's soccer team for their outstanding accomplishments during the fall season. The Wildcats set eight school records, including a program-record 16 wins and a 10-game winning streak to start the season. Villanova reached the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in the last six seasons, where they advanced to the second round.
Also honored individually this evening was the team's junior goalkeeper Jillian Loyden (Vineland, N.J.), who became the team's first player to receive first team All-America honors this season. Loyden was named the Big East Goalkeeper of the Year for the second straight season and set a school record for the lowest goals-against average and fewest goals allowed in a single season. She also produced the 16th-longest shutout streak in Division I history during the season, going a span of 736:24 across more than seven games without allowing a goal. Loyden will be the Villanova honoree at the Philadelphia Sportswriter's Banquet on Monday, January 22.