Villanova/Notre Dame Post-Game Notes
Jan. 27, 2010
Tonight's victory gives Villanova its best start ever through the first 20 games of a season. The Wildcats are 19-1 to begin the year for the first time in program history. Villanova is also 8-0 in BIG EAST play and continues its best-ever start in the conference schedule.
Villanova has won four straight games at the Wachovia Center, which is the second-longest win streak in the building for the team. The Wildcats won six straight games at the facility during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons.
Villanova is now 27-23 (.540) overall and 18-19 (.486) in BIG EAST games at the Wachovia Center. Since the start of the 2004-05 season, the Wildcats have gone 17-8 (.680) in the building.
Tonight's game marked the third-highest point total for the Wildcats at the Wachovia Center and the third time Villanova scored at least 90 points in a game there. The Wildcats set a team record for most points in the building last season when they put up 102 points in a 102-85 victory against Syracuse on February 7, 2009.
Villanova improved to 18-14 (.563) all-time against Notre Dame and defeated the Fighting Irish for the second straight meeting. The Wildcats also avenged a 90-80 loss to Notre Dame in the last meeting between the teams at the Wachovia Center, back on January 26, 2008.
Junior forward Antonio Pena notched a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds in tonight's contest. It marked his fifth double-double of the season and the sixth of his career.
Villanova did a good job of getting out and running in tonight's game. The Wildcats owned a 19-5 scoring edge on fast-break points over Notre Dame, including an 11-0 edge in the decisive second half. Villanova turned 14 turnovers by the Fighting Irish into 20 points on the other end.
The most decisive stretch of tonight's game occurred over a span of 5:20 late in the second half. Villanova held a 10-point lead, 70-60, with 7:08 to play when it went on a 20-7 run to seal the outcome. That spurt ended with two free throws by senior guard Scottie Reynolds with 1:48 to play that gave the Wildcats a game-high 23-point lead at 90-67. Reynolds scored 11 of his 17 points in the game during the big run.
Notre Dame went 2-for-7 from the field and committed four of its 14 turnovers during the 20-7 run by Villanova that put the game out of reach late in the second half.
Senior guard Scottie Reynolds and junior guard Corey Fisher are both closing in on career scoring milestones. Reynolds (1,993 points) needs just seven more points to become the eighth Villanova player to reach the 2,000-point plateau. Meanwhile, Fisher (983 points) is 17 points away from becoming the 52nd player in school history to score 1,000 career points.
Reynolds and Fisher combined to go 6-of-6 from the free throw line in the final five minutes of tonight's game. Villanova is shooting a remarkable 78.4 percent (109-139) as a team from the free throw line in the last five minutes of games, and an even better 80.5 percent (66-82) in the final two minutes of games.
As of the close of play on Wednesday night, Villanova is one of just five Division I teams in the country that have just one loss. The others are Syracuse, Kentucky, Kansas and Brigham Young. Kentucky was the last remaining unbeaten team in the nation before falling to South Carolina on Tuesday night.