Feb. 10, 2007
After starting out the conference season by losing its first two BIG EAST games and three of its first four league contests, Villanova has now evened its record at 5-5 in conference play by winning four of its last six BIG EAST games.
The win in today's game was the third straight for Villanova, which also won its fifth straight game against Seton Hall. The Wildcats have won the past two meetings at Continental Airlines Arena since losing six straight in the building. Villanova is 9-12 all-time against Seton Hall at the Meadowlands.
Villanova improved to 58-36 all-time against Seton Hall with the victory in today's game. The Wildcats have played the Pirates more times than all but one of its opponents, with 94 meetings in the history between the two teams. Villanova has played St. John's 99 times, trailing the Red Storm 58-41 in the all-time series.
With today's victory, head coach Jay Wright improved to .500 in BIG EAST games on the road. Wright is now 23-23 in road conference games in his sixth season with the Wildcats. Over the past two seasons, Villanova has the best record in the league in road games, going 10-4 (7-1 in 2005-06, 3-3 this season).
BIG EAST Road Records 2005-06 2006-07 Combined Villanova 7-1 3-3 10-4 Pittsburgh 3-5 5-0 8-5 Connecticut 6-2 1-4 7-6 Georgetown 3-5 4-1 7-6 Marquette 3-5 4-2 7-7
The Wildcats started the game on a 10-0 run in the opening 2:54 of the game. The first seven points of the game came from the free throw line and Villanova made 10-of-10 free throws in the opening 5:53 of the contest. For the game, the Wildcats made 34-of-41 (82.9%) free throws. It was the highest free throw total of the season for Villanova.
A total of 53 fouls were called in the game, including 30 on Seton Hall and 23 on Villanova. The Pirates starting frontcourt of center John Garcia and forwards Stan Gaines and Brian Laing combined to shoot 4-of-12 from the field with 10 points and 15 fouls. All three players fouled out of the contest. Laing entered the game as the team's leading scorer, averaging 16.6 points per game. In 24 minutes this afternoon, he was held scoreless on 0-for-5 shooting from the field.
The 10-0 run that Villanova used to start the game matched its largest game-opening run of the season. On December 23 at La Salle, the Wildcats led 10-0 at the 15:45 mark of the first half before going on to a 64-51 victory.
Senior Curtis Sumpter scored 21 points and had 10 rebounds in this afternoon's contest, marking his fifth double-double of the season and 12th of his career. Sumpter hit on 3-of-5 three-pointers in the game. Since sitting out the Texas game with a deep bone bruise in his leg, Sumpter had been just 3-of-13 (23%) from beyond the arc in five games. For the season, Sumpter is shooting 39-of-99 (39.4%) from long range and for his career is 108-of-293 from beyond the arc (36.9%).
Curtis Sumpter scored at least 20 points in a game for the 10th time this season and 25th time in his career. His 21 points this afternoon were three off his BIG EAST season high of 24 points against Syracuse on January 13. Sumpter is now tied with freshman Scottie Reynolds for the team lead in scoring in conference games. Both players are averaging 15.6 points per contest against league foes.
Sophomore Dante Cunningham scored 14 points in this afternoon's game, going 4-of-6 from the field and making 6-of-8 free throws. It was his eighth double-figure scoring game of the season and first since he had a string of four straight games with at least 10 points from January 17-27. Cunningham is averaging 8.7 points per game this season while shooting 61.5 percent (80-of-130) from the field and 70.6 percent (48-of-68) from the foul line. Villanova is 7-1 this season when Cunningham scores in double figures.
The Wildcats dominated Seton Hall in rebounding in today's game, owning a 41-20 edge on the glass. It was the 18th time in 24 games that Villanova pulled down more rebounds than the opposition and was the ninth straight game that the Wildcats had at least an even rebounding margin. Villanova has had a rebound margin of at least +15 seven times this season. In this afternoon's contest, the Wildcats had a 12-4 advantage on the offensive glass and a 29-16 edge on the defensive end. Villanova outrebounded Seton Hall 27-9 in the first half, when it built a 16-point lead.
Today's game marked the second straight contest that the Wildcats have won without trailing at any point in the game. In the past two games, Villanova has had the lead for 78:22 and has been tied for 1:38. In each case, the Wildcats scored the game-opening basket and never trailed or were tied at any point in the contest.