Dec. 27, 2004
VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) - Curtis Sumpter scored a season-high 26 points and sparked a second-half surge as Villanova defeated Middle Tennessee 81-62 in the first meeting ever between the schools.
Sumpter, using a variety of shots, connected on 10 of 13 from the field, including 2 of 2 from 3-point range. Allan Ray added 16 points for the Wildcats (6-1), while Michael Cuffee had 17 points and Mike Dean had 15 for Middle Tennessee (7-4).
Villanova led only by 41-39 one minute into the second half, but then scored 12 unanswered points, including 10 by Sumpter, to take a 53-39 lead. Middle Tennessee closed to within 55-47 on a 3-pointer by Cuffee with 10:57 to play, but Mike Nardi hit two straight 3-point shots and the Blue Raiders never threatened again.
Villanova made only one of its first seven shots, but then nailed seven straight during an 18-4 run to take a 25-17 lead.
The Wildcats led 32-22 before Steve Thomas sparked a Middle Tennessee rally, and a jumper by Coffee at the halftime buzzer cut the lead to 39-37.