Feb. 23, 2001
Villanova Wildcats (15-10 overall, 6-7 Big East)
St. John's Red Storm (14-11 overall, 8-5 Big East)
Sunday, Feb. 25, 2001 The Pavilion 3:30 p.m.
ABC TV (Brent Musburger & Dick Vitale) WPHT Radio (Ryan Fannon & Whitey Rigsby)
Today's Top Stories
Double Trouble: Junior center Michael Bradley was at it again in the 107-100 loss at West Virginia on Tuesday. The native of Worcester, Mass., notched his 12th double-double of the season with 22 points and 18 rebounds, the latter a career high. Bradley has 34 rebounds in his past two games and also had a career high six blocks on Tuesday.
Medley Doubtful: Senior point guard Jermaine Medley sat out Tuesday's loss with a sprained right ankle and is doubtful for today's action. He is the fifth member of the playing rotation to have missed at least one start due to injury this season.
When Villanova head coach Steve Lappas was asked about a specific play following the game at West Virginia, he replied "I'd have to look at the tape. It's all a blur right now." Understandably. In what West Virginia head coach Gale Catlett called the best game he had been a part of in 29 years of coaching, West Virginia outlasted the Wildcats 107-100 in double overtime on Tuesday at the WVU Coliseum. "It's certainly a heartbreaker for us," Lappas said. "But you have to give West Virginia credit for making the comeback they did." The `Cats saw four players foul out (Brooks Sales, Derrick Snowden, Ricky Wright and Reggie Bryant). Five different Wildcats set personal career highs for minutes and a total of nine career highs were set by a variety of Villanova athletes. Yet in the end it wasn't enough. "I thought we gave a great effort," said Lappas. A Josh Yeager three tied the game at 75 to force the first overtime. A Bryant triple tied the game at 88 to force the second overtime. Villanova then lost the battle of attrition as three `Cats were disqualified with five personal fouls in the second overtime period. It was Villanova's first double overtime affair since the 1998-99 campaign. On Jan. 30 of that season the Wildcats defeated Georgetown 93-90 at the First Union Center when Howard Brown and Jermaine Medley hit a pair of threes in the final 2.4 seconds. Villanova is 24-9 all-time in Big East overtime games, the best mark of any league school. "I've never been in a game like that," said Villanova sophomore Gary Buchanan. "It was like, who can win?"
Tuesday's duel with West Virginia produced more than its share of notable numbers. The 107-100 loss was only the second time in school history that the Wildcats scored 100 points in defeat. On Jan. 11, 1958 Villanova dropped a 111-105 decision to La Salle. Villanova surrendered 100 points for the first time since Dec. 30, 1998 when the eventual NCAA champion Connecticut Huskies downed the Wildcats 100-76. The West Virginia contest was only the third time in Big East history that two schools each went over the century mark. Providence downed Connecticut 108-102 on Jan. 19, 1991 and Pittsburgh defeated Providence 117-102 on Feb. 10, 1990.
Jermaine Medley's injured right ankle was placed in a boot last Monday and he remains doubtful for today's game. The injury originally occurred late in the game with Connecticut on Feb. 10 at the First Union Center. Medley missed all but three minutes of the game two nights later at Georgetown and then limped through 29 minutes against Miami on Feb. 17 before being shelved. Injuries have been a major disruptive force at Villanova since the calendar flipped over to 2001. Here is a breakdown of the injuries this season and the number of contests missed.
Reggie Bryant (7 games): pulled abdominal muscle. Johnny Holley (2 games) right knee tendonitis. Jermaine Medley (1 game): sprained right ankle. Brooks Sales (5 games): fractured right hand. Surgery performed on Jan. 31. Andrew Sullivan (2 games): sprained right knee.Through 23 games, Villanova has already lost 17 man games to injury. That also doesn't factor in that Bryant played five games in early January where his effectiveness was greatly reduced by his injury or that Medley barely played against the Hoyas. In contrast, Villanova lost nine man games to injury through all of the 1999-2000 season and all of them belonged to Holley, who suffered a knee injury in a Jan. 8 practice. They lost the same number during the 1998-99 campaign - eight for Holley and one for John Celestand.
Masterpiece in the Paint
Villanova All-American candidate Michael Bradley painted another brilliant portrait on Tuesday night at West Virginia. The native of Worcester, Mass., recorded a new career high in rebounds with 18 and minutes (46). He also blocked six shots, handed out six assists and scored 22 points in the face of a box and one defense. "Bradley is a tremendous player," said Miami head coach Perry Clark. Bradley has scored 20 or more points 18 times this winter. He now has 991 career collegiate points, counting his two seasons of work at the University of Kentucky. His 549 points are the most by a Wildcats since Alvin Williams totaled 580 as a senior for the 24-10 Wildcats of 1996-97. In addition, Bradley could become the first Wildcat since Harold Pressley in 1985-86 to average a double-double for an entire season. With a field goal percentage of .695, Bradley leads the nation in that category.
Freshman point guard Derrick Snowden delivered another strong performance filling in for Jermaine Medley in a hostile environment. Eight days after scoring eight points in 31 minutes in a 59-56 upset win over No. 18 Georgetown, the rookie from Baltimore came through with 18 points, five assists and only one turnover in 39 minutes of heated action against the Mountaineers. "Derrick played a tremendous game," said Lappas. Snowden was 4-of-6 (.667) on 3-point field goals, including two huge treys in the second half as Villanova attempted to hold off a West Virginia rally. At the other end of the floor, Snowden made his presence felt as well. He hounded West Virginia guard Tim Lyles into a 2-of-12 shooting night . As a freshman Snowden has made six starts for the Wildcats. His five starts earlier this year came when Lappas utilized a three guard rotation in the starting lineup and Snowden joined Medley and Buchanan.
Spirit of St. Louis
Gary Buchanan continues to lead the NCAA in free throw shooting percentage, despite missing his only attempt on Tuesday night at West Virginia. Presently Buchanan is 84-of-87 at the line, a .966 figure. The highest free throw percentage for a season in Division I was recorded by Penn State's Craig Collins in 1984-85 (94-of-98, .959). Earlier this season Buchanan converted 73 free throws in a row to shatter the all-time NCAA Division I record formerly held by Joe Dykstra of Western Illinois. Buchanan is second on the Wildcats in scoring at 13.5 ppg and recorded a career high with 46 minutes on Tuesday.
80 Spells Trouble
The overtime loss added another line to a disturbing statistical trend. Villanova is 13-1 (.929) when it holds opponents below 80 points. When the `Cats permit the opposition to score more than 80 points they are 2-9 (.182). The 107 points scored by the Mountaineers are the most Villanova has allowed this season and the most since Canisius scored a 111-81 win over the Wildcats on Feb. 19, 1975.
Sophomore forward Ricky Wright continues to take advantage of the opportunity afforded him by the fracture that has hindered Brooks Sales the last three weeks. Wright posted a new career high with 22 points in 34 minutes in the 107-100 loss at West Virginia. In addition, he also came up with eight rebounds before fouling out late in the second overtime. The native of East Chicago, Ind., has raised his scoring average to 8.0 ppg and is connecting on .556 of his attempts from the field.
Brooks is Back
Sales saw his most extensive action since being cleared to play on Feb. 17 at West Virginia on Tuesday. The native of Bloomfield, Conn., playing with his right (shooting) hand wrapped, scored seven points and blocked four shots in 15 minutes of action. Sales suffered the fractured right hand on Jan. 29 after he slipped and fell on some ice. Surgery was performed on Jan. 31 and the forward missed five games before returning.
Philadelphia Big Five
Villanova clinched the Big Five title with an 80-51 triumph over the University of Pennsylvania on Feb. 6 at the First Union Center. The standings:
Villanova 4-0 St. Joseph's 2-1 La Salle 1-1 Temple 1-2 Pennsylvania 0-4
Villanova's four game sweep was its first since the 1984-85 season. In all, Villanova has won or shared the City Series crown 15 times. The Philadelphia Big Five resumed complete round robin competition for the 1999-2000 season. Villanova is 9-1 (.900) in Big Five action over the past three seasons. Notables Villanova now owns three wins over teams ranked in the Associated Press top 25: Temple, Connecticut, and Georgetown.... The Wildcats were 2-0 in the First Union Center this year, the first time that has happened since the building opened in 1996...
Two For Tomorrow
Coach Steve Lappas and his staff inked two prepsters to national letters of intent this fall. Marcus Austin, a 6-9 forward from St. Patrick's Elizabeth (N.J.) High School and Brennan Martin, a 6-6 forward from California by way of Hargrave Military Academy both signed letters in November. "Marcus Austin will be a tremendous addition to our program," said Lappas. "At 6-9 he is very athletic and brings scoring ability that will help us in the future. "Brennan Martin is an outstanding 3-point shooter and that is a very valued part of our offense. He will make some great contributions to our program."
VU Day By Day
Monday: 2-0 Tuesday: 4-2 Wednesday: 2-1 Thursday: 1-1 Friday: 0-1 Saturday: 4-4 Sunday: 1-1
Members of the media planning to cover the Big East Conference tournament at Madison Square Garden need to complete the credential request form and forward it to the attention of John Paquette at the Big East Conference office in Providence, R.I. The tournament, which this year consists of 12 teams, runs from March 7-10 this year. Pavilion Power?
Today the `Cats hope to restore the good vibes they have had throughout the Steve Lappas tenure at the Pavilion. Since the start of the 1994-95 campaign the Wildcats are 68-10 (.872) in front of the Pavilion audience. In Big East play over that span Villanova is 35-8 (.833).
Lately, though, the Wildcats haven't been quite so effective, dropping three of their last four in the building on Ithan Avenue. Villanova fell to Miami in its most recent Pavilion appearance on Feb. 17.
Lifetime Villanova is 128-42 (.753) in the 6,500-seat structure. Since Lappas became head coach in 1992 the Cats are 77-13 (.856).