No. 3 Villanova Trounces La Salle 98-57
Dec. 22, 2005
With their knack for hitting big 3s and quickness to the basket that's hard to stop, it's getting harder to tell them apart on the court, too.
Ray hit six 3-pointers and scored 21 points, and Foye scored 20, keeping No. 3 Villanova undefeated in a 98-57 victory over previously unbeaten La Salle on Thursday night.
"I can't tell them apart," coach Jay Wright said. "They both do the same things every play and that's where our leadership comes from."
While the title of best guard on the Wildcats is still open for debate, the label of best team in the Philadelphia area certainly is not.
After a spirited, strong start by the surprising Explorers (7-1), the Wildcats dominated again with their four guards hitting from 3-point range and Jason Fraser giving a solid performance inside.
Foye and Ray combined for nine of Villanova's 13 3-pointers, and Fraser added a season-high 13 points off the bench for the Wildcats, who are 8-0 for the first time since 1977-78.
"We just feed off each other," Ray said. "Sometimes Randy gets it going and everyone on the team knows that and we'll try to find him. Sometimes Mike (Nardi) gets it going and we find him. Sometimes I get it going and everyone finds me."
It's hard to believe the Wildcats were scoreless the first 3:07 of the game. They turned this one into such an early blowout that deep reserve Dwayne Anderson scored all 10 of his points on 4-for-6 shooting in the final 7 minutes.
"I think our depth over time just got them a little tired," Wright said.
The game was believed to be the first between two 7-0 teams in the storied history of the Big 5, one the most unique and cherished institutions in college basketball. In 1981, Temple and Villanova were both 6-0 in the latest meeting of two undefeated teams in the city series, according to La Salle.
Darnell Harris scored 15 points and Steven Smith added 13 for La Salle.
"The shots they were hitting was like getting hit in the stomach," Smith said.
The Explorers fell short of their first 8-0 start since 1989-90, and lost for only the second time in seven games at the Pavilion. La Salle has handed Villanova five of its 15 career home losses against nonconference teams since the Pavilion opened on Feb. 1, 1986.
"I don't know what we looked like, but they looked like a Top 5 team," La Salle coach John Giannini said.
The Wildcats trailed 11-3 until they got 3s from Nardi, Ray and Foye during a 24-8 run and started to put the game away. When Dante Cunningham capped the run with a dunk midway through the first half, he was the seventh Villanova player to score.
Perhaps trying to impress the slew of NBA scouts on hand to watch probable future pros Foye, Ray and Smith, Ray hit all three 3-pointers during a 9-0 run from a few feet behind what would have been NBA 3-point range much to the amazement of a gasping crowd.
When Nardi hit a 3 in the final minute, Nova took a 52-32 lead into halftime.
"If we didn't bring energy, if we didn't bring Villanova basketball to the table tonight, it doesn't matter what the record is. We lose," Fraser said.
While few teams can handle the quick, versatile Wildcats on their best night, it didn't help that the Explorers were worn down from two overtime wins this week, including a four-overtime victory at Central Connecticut State on Sunday.
The Wildcats last played on Dec. 13, against Penn.
"If we were completely fresh, I don't know if we could have competed with what we saw today," Giannini said. "I thought they were tremendous. They were clearly a very high-level team. They lived up to their billing."
Wright benched Ray and Foye for good at the end of a 19-0 run with just over 6 minutes left in the game. Ray hit a 3 and Foye followed with two of his own to get the spurt going.