Feb. 14, 2007
The victory in tonight's game was the fourth in a row for Villanova and its seventh in the last nine games. Since starting BIG EAST play with a 1-3 record, the Wildcats have gone 5-2 in their last seven league contests. Villanova also improved to 3-0 all-time against Cincinnati and is now 8-1 over the past two seasons against the five former Conference USA teams that joined the BIG EAST for the 2005-06 season.
Tonight's game was only the third game ever between Villanova and Cincinnati. The first two meetings both came in Cincinnati and featured two-point Wildcat wins (70-68 on 12/20/47 and 74-72 on 2/23/06).
The decisive factor in tonight's contest came early on, as Villanova erupted for a 22-0 run in the first half that opened a 25-6 lead with 6:08 remaining before halftime. After making two three-pointers and owning a 6-3 lead at the 17:09 mark of the period, the Bearcats went scoreless the next 11:35 before making their first two-point basket of the night with 5:34 remaining in the half. During the 22-0 run, Cincinnati went 0-for-7 from the field and 0-for-2 at the foul line. The Bearcats also committed 10 turnovers during the spurt, including giveaways on seven straight possessions at the beginning of the run.
The 22-0 run by Villanova in the first half was the team's longest shutout run of the season. After the big run gave the Wildcats a 19-point lead at 25-6, the team led by between 15 and 29 points for the remainder of the game.
Villanova made its 10th appearance of 2006-07 on the ESPN family of networks this evening and its 12th national TV appearance of the season. The Wildcats are 9-3 in nationally televised games for the year, including 8-2 in games on one of the ESPN networks. Tonight's game aired live on ESPNU.
During its four-game winning streak, Villanova has had a halftime lead of at least nine points in each of the last three contests. The Wildcats led by 16 at halftime against Seton Hall this past Saturday (43-27) and owned a 17-point margin (34-17) at the intermission tonight. The 17 points scored by Cincinnati in the first half were the fewest allowed in a stanza by the Wildcats this season. Villanova previously allowed 18 points to Stony Brook in the first half of a 72-44 road victory on Nov. 30.
Senior Mike Nardi made his first five shots from the field in tonight's game - including four three-pointers - and had 14 points in the opening half of the game to nearly match the output of the entire Cincinnati team. For the game, Nardi finished with 16 points.
The Wildcats owned a 35-25 rebounding edge in tonight's game. It was the 19th time in 25 contests on the year that Villanova outrebounded the opposition and the 10th time that the squad had a double-digit rebounding margin in a game. The Wildcats have owned a 158-112 rebound edge over its opponents during its current four-game winning streak.
Villanova has now posted at least 18 wins in a season for the fourth straight season and eighth time in the last nine seasons since the 1998-99 campaign. The Wildcats have had at least 18 victories in five of the six seasons in which Jay Wright has been head coach.
Senior Curtis Sumpter scored all eight of his points in a span of 1:31 during the second half of tonight's game against Cincinnati. After taking just three shots in the first half, Sumpter got on the board when he made a three-pointer with 10:59 remaining in the game. He fueled his own personal 8-0 run and capped the spurt with a three-pointer with 9:28 left in the contest.
On a balanced scoring night for the Wildcats, eight different players got into the scoring column, including five players with at least eight points in the game and two players in double figures.
Tonight's game marked the seventh time this season that Villanova held the opposition below 60 points. The Wildcats are 7-0 in these games. It is also the third time the Wildcats have allowed fewer than 50 points in a game.
During its current four-game winning streak, Villanova is:
Outscoring the opposition by a margin of 63.8-52.2 (+11.5)
Owns a 39.5-28.0 (+11.5) rebounding margin
Shooting .405 (83-205) from the field, .319 (22-69) from three-point range and .827 (67-81) from the foul line
Has five players averaging at least 7.5 points per game