Wildcats Set to Face Defending NCAA champion Connecticut
Feb. 20, 2012
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - Villanova looks to rebound from a 74-70 loss to No. 23/25 Notre Dame when it hosts defending NCAA champion Connecticut at the Wells Fargo Center this evening. Tipoff is slated for 7:00 p.m. and the game will lead off ESPN's "Big Monday" coverage - it can also be heard on ESPN 950 Radio via the Villanova IMG Network and the BIG EAST Radio network nationally.
The Wildcats - minus injured starters James Bell (sprained left ankle) and Maalik Wayns (sprained MCL in the left knee) - battled Notre Dame to the wire on Saturday night before a crowd of 15,939. A Maurice Sutton put-back with 0.9 seconds left forced the extra session.
"Obviously it was a tough loss and a game you wish you never had to experience, but we have had a couple of those this year," stated Villanova head coach Jay Wright. "We are paying our dues. Notre Dame made every big shot down the stretch and we missed every big shot. We got good shots, we just missed them."
Pinkston says it is small matters that often make the difference in a close game.
"It was just the little things, the little things on defense," stated the native of Brooklyn, N.Y. "We have to rotate better. It's just basically the little things, on offense and defense."
Connecticut dropped a game Saturday at home to Marquette and brings a 16-10 overall record into this battle. The Huskies are 6-8 in the BIG EAST and will again be without head coach Jim Calhoun.
Bell will miss his second straight game for the Wildcats (11-15 overall, 4-10 BIG EAST) after injuring his ankle in the second half of last Wednesday's contest at USF. Wayns, who has been sidelined since a Feb. 7 win over Providence, remains listed as doubtful to play.
Guard Dallas Ouano and student manager Joe Merkle will be honored in pre-game ceremonies for their contributions to the program on "Senior Night".
Note - Fans attending tonight's game are advised that construction is scheduled to begin at 9:30 p.m. tonight on the Eastbound Platt Bridge (Rte. 291). The eastbound lanes of the Bridge will be closed until 5:30 a.m. Tuesday. For more PennDOT information, visit www.dot.state.pa.us.