Jan. 17, 2008
BIG RUN KEYS COMEBACK: Villanova had already chipped its way back into the game when it completed the turnaround with a 15-0 run in the second half. After trailing by as many as 16 points in the first half and by as many as 13 early in the second half, the Wildcats were down 57-50 after a DePaul bucket with 9:49 to play. Villanova surged ahead, though, by scoring the next 15 points to take a 65-57 lead with 4:28 remaining. During the run by the Wildcats, the Blue Demons missed five shots from the field, two from the foul line and committed four turnovers.
COMEBACK CATS: Tonight's win was the second this season in a game that Villanova trailed by as many as 16 points. The Wildcats also rallied from 21 points down in the second half to defeat LSU earlier this season at the Wachovia Center. Prior to this season, Villanova had never won a game it trailed by that many points since Jay Wright became head coach in 2001-02.
FREE THROW STORY: Redshirt freshman forward Antonio Pena went 7-of-8 from the foul line in tonight's game and is now 33-of-50 (66%) at the line this year. Since making only two of his first nine free throw attempts in the season's first five games (22.2%), Pena has been a much steadier 31-of-41 (75.6%) at the stripe over the past 10 games. For the game, Villanova was 23-of-28 (82.1%) from the line as a team, including 16-of-18 (88.9%) in the second half.
PENA MATCHES SEASON BEST: In his second start of the season, redshirt freshman forward Antonio Pena matched his season high with 17 points. He also added a career-high nine rebounds in 32 minutes of action. Pena was 5-of-10 from the field and 7-of-8 at the free throw line for the game and matched his scoring output from the win over Temple last month. Pena improved his season marks to 7.0 points and 3.5 rebounds per game with his play tonight. He scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half.
CUNNINGHAM GRABS A BAKER'S DOZEN: Junior forward Dante Cunningham tied his season and career high with 13 rebounds in tonight's victory. He previously pulled down 13 boards in a win over Hartford earlier this season. Cunningham is leading the Wildcats this season with 7.5 rebounds per game and has now pulled down at least 10 rebounds on five occasions. With 14 points scored, Cunningham also notched his fourth career double-double, with all of those coming this season.
DOMINANT ON THE GLASS: In tonight's game the Wildcats owned a commanding 43-20 rebounding edge over DePaul. The +23 rebound margin was the largest in a game for Villanova since a +27 margin (48-21) over Rider in a victory last season on December 20, 2006 at the Pavilion. The Wildcats owned a 23-7 rebounding edge in the second half, pulled down 17 offensive boards and outscored DePaul 15-8 in second chance points and 30-18 in the paint.
GRANT IN THE LINEUP: Freshman guard Malcolm Grant made his first collegiate start in tonight's game and played 22 minutes. He scored seven points and dished out four assists, going 2-of-6 from the field, 1-of-3 from three-point range and 2-of-2 at the foul line. Grant is averaging 7.7 points per game this season and is shooting 52.2% (22-of-46) from three-point range.
STOKES UPDATE: Freshman guard Corey Stokes showcased one of his best games of the season in tonight's victory, tallying seven points and four rebounds in 25 minutes. He made 2-of-5 from the field, 1-of-2 from three-point range and 2-of-4 at the foul line. Stokes was inserted into the lineup for his size when defending the perimeter and his four rebounds came in key situations.
BACK AND FORTH: Since DePaul joined the Big East Conference prior to the 2005-06 season, Villanova has alternated wins and losses in its meetings with the Blue Demons. The Wildcats won in Chicago in 2005-06, then lost to DePaul at the Pavilion last season. Villanova did beat DePaul in the Big East Tournament last year, but lost to the Blue Demons earlier this season in Chicago. Overall, the Wildcats are 3-2 against DePaul since 2005-06 and 11-8 all-time against the program.
PAVILION SUCCESS: Since the beginning of the 2004-05 season, Villanova is a gaudy 14-3 (.824) in regular season Big East games at the Pavilion. The Wildcats have won their last five conference games in the building since suffering a setback to DePaul last season in the league home opener.
THREE AT A TIME: Tonight's game marked the fourth time this season that Villanova allowed the opposition at least 10 made three-point field goals. Surprisingly, the Wildcats are 4-0 in these games, including wins over Bucknell, Temple and Columbia. Earlier this season Bucknell drained 15 triples in a 70-64 Villanova victory.