Nov. 23, 2007
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Scottie Reynolds scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half to help No. 19 Villanova (4-0) advance to the finals of the Old Spice Classic with an 84-76 victory over George Mason (4-1) on Friday here at the Milkhouse at Disney's Wide World of Sports.
The Wildcats jumped on the Patriots to score the game's first seven points before George Mason surged back. George Mason, which advanced to the 2006 NCAA Final Four, went on a 25-10 run over the next 11 minutes to take a 25-17 lead with 5:13 left. But Villanova freshman Malcolm Grant gave his club a boost, draining three triples before intermission to spark the `Cats to a 21-9 run that lifted Villanova to a 38-343 halftime advantage.
"Sometimes when you are a young team, your defense suffers when you don't make shots," stated Villanova head coach Jay Wright. "I thought that happened to us in the first half. But Malkie came into the game and gave us energy. He made a few shots and got us going."
The Wildcats steadily added to their lead for much of the second half. When Reggie Redding dropped in the second of his three point goals of the contest, Villanova owned a 68-54 lead. But George Mason would not wilt, clawing to within six on a 3-point goal by John Vaughn with 1:50 left in the game. Villanova held off the charge though at moved into its first in-season tourney title since the 2002 Great Alaska Shootout.
"We still aren't as organized as we hope to be but these games have been a great experience for us," stated Wright. "The last three games we have had our guys out there with the game on the line and they have responded. George Mason is an experienced, well-coached team and we are happy to have this win."
Shane Clark added 13 points and 10 rebounds for Villanova while Grant finished with 13 points and sophomore Reggie Redding contributed 11. Sophomore Casiem Drummond added eight points and 10 rebounds. Villanova sank 12-of-27 (.444) from beyond the 3-point arc.
Folarin Campbell paced George Mason with 25 points while Dre Smith added 15.
Villanova will meet North Carolina State in Sunday's final at 6:30 p.m. (ESPN2).