Dec. 6, 2009
Villanova made its first appearance in the BB&T Classic in tonight's game against Maryland. With the victory, the team improved to 91-58 (.611) all-time in regular season tournament play. The record includes a 4-0 mark this season and a 15-5 (.750) record under ninth-year head coach Jay Wright. Villanova won the championship at the O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off earlier this season with wins over George Mason, Dayton and Ole Miss.
SERIES AGAINST MARYLAND
Despite their geographic proximity, Villanova and Maryland met tonight for only the fourth time ever and the first time since 1986. The Wildcats lead the all-time series 3-1 and have won the last three games between the teams. The teams first met on January 27, 1985, with the Terrapins winning, 77-74. On March 22, 1985, Villanova won a game, 46-43, en route to winning its first national championship. The most recent meeting was a 64-62 triumph for the Wildcats at The Pavilion on February 1, 1986.
Villanova won its eighth straight game with tonight's victory and has now begun the year with at least an 8-0 record for the third time in the last five years. The Wildcats started 8-0 last season before suffering their first loss and went 10-0 to start the 2005-06 campaign. The best start to a season in school history was 13-0 back in 1937-38.
THREE AT A TIME
The Wildcats scored 30 of their first 40 points in the game on three-pointers and led 40-29 with 4:37 to play in the first half after a three-pointer made by junior guard Corey Stokes (Bayonne, N.J.). Stokes hit four triples in the first 20 minutes and Villanova was 11-of-22 (.500) from behind the arc in the opening period en route to leading 49-38 at the intermission. The Wildcats wound up setting a single-game school record with 39 three-point field goals attempted, one more than the previous mark of 38 from a game against Minnesota on November 25, 1994. Villanova went 16-of-39 (.410) from long distance tonight and came within one three-pointer of tying the school record of 17 set against Lehigh on November 27, 2005.
Villanova not only controlled the glass in tonight's game (45-33 rebounding edge), but the Wildcats dominated the offensive boards and grabbed 23 offensive rebounds. Villanova owned a 23-7 advantage on the offensive glass for the game. Junior forward Antonio Pena (Brooklyn, N.Y.) had a team-high 11 rebounds in the game and grabbed six offensive caroms. Redshirt freshman center Maurice Sutton (Marlboro, Md.) grabbed all four of his rebounds on the offensive end. The 23 offensive rebounds were the most for the Wildcats since they had 26 against Florida on March 26, 2006 in the NCAA Elite Eight against Florida.
SECOND CHANCE POINTS
The edge in offensive rebounding helped Villanova to a 29-10 advantage in second chance points.
POINTS OFF TURNOVERS
Villanova turned the ball over 14 times in tonight's game and forced Maryland into committing 19 miscues. The Wildcats did a better job of capitalizing on the mistakes by the Terrapins, however, and outscored Maryland 32-9 in points off turnovers.
BIG RUNS IN SECOND HALF PROVE PIVOTAL
After quickly scoring the first five points of the second half to take a game-high 54-38 lead with 19:31 to play, Villanova saw Maryland go on a 20-7 run in less than six minutes and pull to within three points, 61-58, on a three-pointer by Eric Hayes with 13:34 to play. The Wildcats responded quickly to extend its lead once again, however, going on an 11-1 run over just 2:34 to go ahead 72-59 with 9:21 remaining. Junior guard Corey Fisher (Bronx, N.Y.) started the run with a three-pointer and classmate Corey Stokes (Bayonne, N.J.) finished it with a three-pointer. Before Fisher's shot launched the run, Maryland came up short on three straight possessions in which it could have tied the game or pulled to within one point.
The three starting guards for Villanova all had a big game tonight, as senior Scottie Reynolds (Herndon, Va.) and juniors Corey Fisher (Bronx, N.Y.) and Corey Stokes (Bayonne, N.J.) combined to score 63 of the team's 95 points (66.3%) and hit 12 of the Wildcats 16 three-pointers. Reynolds finished with a team-high 25 points, Fisher scored 20 points and Stokes chipped in 18 while matching a game-high with five three-pointers. The point totals for both Reynolds and Fisher were season highs.
Although the Wildcats got the majority of their offense tonight from the three starting guards, the Villanova reserves made important contributions as well. Sophomore forward Taylor King (Huntington Beach, Calif.) scored 13 points in 30 minutes off the bench. The Wildcats owned a 22-5 margin in bench scoring over the Terrapins.
THIS AND THAT
Villanova is averaging 15.6 offensive rebounds per game this season ... The 95 points were the second most in a game for the Wildcats this season, behind the 103 points scored in a November 16 win over Penn ... Villanova's eight wins this year have come against teams from six different conferences (Atlantic 10, Atlantic Coast, Colonial Athletic Association, Ivy League, Northeast and Southeastern) ... The Wildcats last win over an ACC team was against Duke (77-54) in the regional semifinal round of last year's NCAA Championship ... Villanova was 19-of-26 (.731) at the free throw line in tonight's game, including 8-of-10 (.800) in the final two mintues.
Villanova plays its third Big Five game of the season against Saint Joseph's on Wednesday night at 9 p.m. at the Palestra in Philadelphia. The game will be televised live on ESPN2.