Nov. 27, 2005
VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) - Allan Ray can shoot the 3-pointer a lot better than he can keep track of them.
"I didn't really think I was in a rhythm," Ray said. "I made one, then missed three. Then I made another one, and missed four."
Yeah, Lehigh can only wish Ray was that off.
Ray set Villanova's individual 3-point record with eight and scored 26 points, and the No. 4 Wildcats also set a team mark with 17 3s in an 84-47 win over the Mountain Hawks on Sunday night.
"My teammates have the confidence in me to shoot and Coach definitely has confidence, so I just kept shooting," said Ray, who went 8-for-16 from 3-point range.
Randy Foye sank five 3s and scored 21 points, Mike Nardi had four 3s and 14 points and Kyle Lowry added 12 points for the Wildcats (2-0). Villanova took more 3s (33) than regular field goals (26) and only went to the free-throw line 12 times.
"We want to shoot 3s," said coach Jay Wright, who won his 200th career game. "We have great confidence in Allan and Mike and Randy, especially. Those three are pretty deadly."
Ray matched his own record with his seventh 3-pointer with about 7 minutes left, then pulled up from the right side over Kyle Neptune on the next possession and sank the 17th 3-pointer for an 80-36 lead.
Wright immediately pulled the starting lineup and a sold-out crowd chanted Ray's name in appreciation.
"We wanted them to take long shots, but they have great shooters" said Lehigh coach Billy Taylor.
Playing with their highest ranking since 1996, the Wildcats came out firing and took early aim on the 3-point record. Villanova's previous record was 16 3-pointers, with the last coming against Notre Dame on Jan. 7, 1999. Four players had each made seven 3-pointers, including Ray who did it against Miami on March 2, 2004.
Right side, left side, all around the arc, the Wildcats were accurate wherever they shot the ball.
With Curtis Sumpter likely out for the year with a torn ACL, the Wildcats start a four-guard lineup that made shooting from outside the arc look like a layup drill. The guards - Nardi, Ray, Foye and Lowry - are simply too quick to cover man-to-man and they shoot to well to use a zone.
"Some teams play man, some teams play zone, so in practice we just go with everything to be ready for whatever defense we're going to play that night," Foye said.
The Wildcats sure were ready and they turned this one into a rout early.
Ray and Nardi opened the game with 3-pointers, then Ray and Foye each added another to quickly open a 12-point lead. Foye hit consecutive 3s to make it 25-10 and Lehigh (2-4) simply had no answer.
When the Wildcats went up 30-15 midway through the first half, they had more 3-pointers (seven) than the Mountain Hawks had baskets (six).
Villanova kept taking 3s and made 10 of 18 in the first half - including a nice 4-for-5 effort from Foye - and took a 47-25 halftime lead.
"Sometimes the rim looks like an ocean," Foye said. "My teammates were finding me in the right spots and I was talking the right shots."
Jose Olivero scored 15 points for Lehigh.
The Wildcats play at Rider on Wednesday before returning home Saturday for one of the early marquee matchups of the season against No. 5 Oklahoma.