Jan. 17, 2001
It was, in the words of UCLA head coach Steve Lavin, one of his team's finest performances.
"We really did a good job of focusing on the things we hadn't done well against USC, such as playing well with the lead," said Lavin.
"Villanova just kind of ran into a buzzsaw today. It's happened to us before. We know that coach Lappas runs a great program over there and this is one of those things."
UCLA, fueled by fullcourt pressure, took control of the game midway through the first half. A steal that led to a basket at the buzzer just before halftime gave the Bruins a 44-30 lead at intermission and seemed to exemplify the first half.
The Bruins were even better in the second half while the Wildcats struggled. In the end, Villanova's first visit to Pauley Pavilion turned out to be one it would rather forget.
Jason Kapono led UCLA with 28 points while Earl Watson added 17 points and eight assists.
While most of the Wildcats never found a comfort zone on Saturday, junior center Michael Bradley continued his pattern of producing.
Bradley connected on eight-of-11 field goal attempts (.727) to raise his field goal percentage to .691. That mark places him second in the nation in that category.
Also on Saturday, Bradley drained his only 3-point field goal attempt. He is now 9-of-21 from beyond the arc on the season (.429). That percentage tops all Wildcat 3-point shooters.
In addition, Bradley added eight more rebounds to his total for the campaign. He averages 8.8 per contest.
Bradley has scored 305 points at the midway point of Villanova's season.
Although the turnovers were the most obvious statistical problem, Villanova's shortfall in another area hurt it on Saturday too: rebounding.
UCLA outrebounded the Wildcats 46-29.
"That's normally an area where we at least hold our own," noted Wildcats head coach Steve Lappas. "We didn't do the kind of job we need to on the boards."
Villanova was last outrebounded in such a decisive manner on Dec. 28 at Georgia. The Bulldogs collected 49 caroms to the Wildcats 36.
Not coincidentally, Villanova dropped a decision to the Bulldogs that night.
While the Wildcats haven't hit on all cylinders of late, one spark has come from freshman point guard Derrick Snowden.
The rookie from Baltimore has established new career highs for minutes in each of the last two contests. After seeing 26 minutes of activity against Providence he was on the court for 27 minutes at UCLA.
In those two games he has averaged 7.0 ppg, including 10 in the 76-67 loss to Providence last week here at the Pavilion.
One reason Snowden has seen more time is the abdominal muscle strain that continues to plague his fellow Baltimore native, Reggie Bryant. Bryant, a critical perimeter reserve for the Wildcats, has been bothered by the injury for 10 days but has played in each of the last three games.
However, he was only available for four minutes on Saturday and has scored only three points in the last three games.
Bryant's status remains day-to-day.
"Reggie hasn't been healthy and that definitely affects us," said Lappas. "He played so well for us in December and he played his best games on the road, which is a great sign for a young player."
Although the game at UCLA won't go down as a cherished memory, the Wildcats did enjoy a few pleasant moments in Los Angeles.
On Thursday, the Wildcat players and Lappas attended the taping of the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Among the guests that evening were Kevin Costner and country singer Sara Evans.
Following the taping of the program, the Wildcats met Leno on stage.
On Friday evening the Wildcats watched the Los Angeles Lakers defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers 101-98 at the Staples Center.
Villanova In the Big East Rankings
Here is a summary of where the Wildcats rank among Big East schools in a variety of categories this week:
Rebounding: 13th (35.3 rpg)
Rebounding defense: 2nd (32.1)
Rebounding margin: 7th (+3.2)
Assists: 6th (17.0 apg)
Turnover margin: 13th (- 2.29)
Blocked Shots: 11th (3.93 bpg)
Steals: 11th (6.57 spg)
Assist/Turnover ratio: 9th (0.97)
Scoring Offense: 5th (79.2 ppg)
Scoring Defense: 13th (76.1)
Scoring Margin: 11th (+3.9)
Field Goal Percentage: 1st (.516)
Free Throw Percentage: 9th (.664)
Field Goal Pct. Defense: 14th (.462)
3-point FG Pct. Defense: 13th (.359)
75 is Significant
The ledger shows that when Villanova has reached 75 points in the last nine years, its odds of success are great.
Under Steve Lappas, the Wildcats are 107-20 (.842) when they score 75 points or more in a game. Last year, Villanova was 8-1 in such contests and is now 8-2 (.800) in that department this season.
When Villanova doesn't reach the 75-point plateau it is 2-2 (.500), including its last two losses.
In addition, Villanova is 10-1 when it surrenders less than 90 points, 0-3 when it allows more than that number.
White To Be Honored Villanova will add another jersey to the row that sits above the student section on Jan. 27 when the Wildcats face Boston College at the Pavilion.
Joining the list of accomplished Wildcat greats to have their jersey retired this year is Hubie White, a former Wildcat All-American whose varsity career spanned 1959-1962.
"Hubie made an enormous contribution to the basketball tradition we enjoy here today," said Villanova director of athletics Vince Nicastro in making the announcement. "We are very happy to add his name to the list of great basketball athletes whose names already hang in the Pavilion."
White is one of only four Wildcats to average 20 ppg in successive seasons. In three varsity seasons, the 6-3 native of Philadelphia never averaged less than 19.6 ppg.