Villanova to Battle Miami for Second Time in Two Weeks in Regular Season Finale
March 2, 2001
Villanova Wildcats (17-10 overall, 8-7 Big East)
Saturday, March 3, 2001 Miami Arena Noon
Today's Top Stories
Double Duty: Junior center Michael Bradley delivered another outstanding offensive effort on Wednesday night in the final regular season home game at the Pavilion. He scored 20 points on 9-of-10 shooting from the field to raise his NCAA leading field goal percentage mark to .704. His 10 rebounds gave him his 13th double-double of the campaign.
Defensive Upgrade: The Wildcats have won five of their last seven and in those five wins have held their opponents to 55.4 ppg. Villanova is 15-1 (.938) when it holds the opposition to less than 80 points.
Big East Tourney Is Next: On Wednesday the Wildcats will play in the opening round of the Big East Conference Tournament against an opponent to be determined this weekend.
Hall Falls For the second time in as many outings the Villanova Wildcats embraced opportunity. Before the game was fifteen minutes old on Wednesday night, the Wildcats held a 30-10 advantage over the Seton Hall Pirates at the Pavilion. The Hall cut the margin to 17 at halftime but a strong burst right after halftime helped Villanova glide home to victory. At one point in the second half, the `Cats held a 31-point advantage. "Villanova certainly gave a spirited effort," said Seton Hall head coach Tommy Amaker. VU head coach Steve Lappas concurred. "It was the best game we played this year, I think," Lappas stated. "And it's a good time to do it. You just hope you didn't put yourself behind the 8-ball a little bit too much. If this is how we're going to play, how we've played in the last seven games, that's a good sign." The senior night festivities were capped late in the contest when a pair of seldom-used walk-ons combined for the Wildcats' final score. Guard B.J. Johnson fed a streaking Chas Carey who laid the ball into the basket as the buzzer sounded.
Sweet Medley After missing two full games and most of another with a sprained ankle first injured in a Feb. 10 win at the First Union Center against Connecticut, Jermaine Medley returned to the lineup for his final regular season appearance at the Pavilion on Wednesday. "I thought Jermaine really did a good job for us," Lappas stated. "He set a good tone with his defense on Andre Barrett and also made a couple of threes to get us going." Medley scored nine points, on three triples in 20 minutes of action. It was his most action since he re-injured the ankle in the first meeting with Miami on Feb. 17 at the Pavilion. "It was very important for me to play tonight," said the senior from Wilmington, Del. "It was the last time I would play here and I just wanted to contribute. I'm thankful that the freshmen, Derrick Snowden and Reggie Bryant, have been able to pick up the slack since I've been hurt."
Another Masterpiece All-American candidate Michael Bradley played a season-low 25 minutes on Wednesday night due to foul trouble and the large lead Villanova held in the second half. Yet he still found a way to deliver 20 points for the 21st time this season. Bradley was as efficient as ever, scoring those 20 points on only 10 field goal attempts. He converted nine of those and added a pair of free throws to his total. The productive night pushed the junior center's field goal percentage above the 70 percent barrier (.704). Only five players in NCAA Division I history have converted more than 70 percent of their field goal attempts for a full season. ABC/ESPN analyst Dick Vitale includes Bradley on his "Super Seven" list of the top players in the nation and espn.com lists him as a third-team All-American. Bradley's versatility was evident as well as he contributed four assists and only one turnover in the game against the Hall. Plus, he had ten rebounds. With a 21.9 ppg average Bradley trails only Notre Dame's Troy Murphy in the race for Big East Conference scoring honors. No first-year player has ever captured the scoring honors in the league's 21 years of operation.
Defensive Tenacity One reason the `Cats have rallied of late is their improved defensive play. Villanova has held teams to 60 points or less six times this season: five of those have come since Feb. 10. One notable exception, of course, was on Feb. 17, when Miami connected on 8-of-11 from 3-point territory in the second half en route to the 80-62 win. Things were different Wednesday. "We started off in man-to-man defense and I wasn't sure how long we would stay in it," Lappas said Wednesday. "But it worked very well for us because the guys did a good job." Villanova ranks fourth in field goal percentage defense (.428) in the Big East Conference.
Injury Report Injuries have been a major disruptive force at Villanova since the calendar flipped over to 2001. In fact, three of Villanova's top six scorers - Reggie Bryant, Medley and Brooks Sales - have missed significant action this winter.
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 tendinitis. Jermaine Medley (2 games): 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 18 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 Georgetown. 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.
Snow Showers Freshman guard Derrick Snowden continued his February surge in the win over Seton Hall. The rookie from Baltimore, Md., (Archbishop Spalding High School) scored 10 points and handed out five assists in a team-leading 36 minutes of activity. "I thought Derrick did a tremendous job on Darius Lane," said Lappas. "I didn't know how he would do because Lane is so much bigger than Derrick, not only in size but in stature as well. But he did a great job on him." Lane was 2-of-12 from the field and scored only five points on the night. In the course of the past three games Snowden has scored 38 points (12.6 ppg). Of those 38 points, five have come on made 3-point field goal attempts.
Matthews Remains Suspended Sophomore forward Aaron Matthews continues to serve the indefinite suspension announced prior to the Seton Hall game. The native of Seaford, Del., is averaging 5.1 points and 3.5 rebounds a game and has made 21 starts on the season.
Glass Works Villanova has helped itself lately on the backboards. On Wednesday the Wildcats outrebounded Seton Hall 42-37. In fact, Villanova has outrebounded the opposition in 17 of its last 18 games. The only exception to that came on Feb. 20 at West Virginia, when the Mountaineers collected one more carom than the `Cats.
Bradley's a Finalist The Atlanta Tipoff Club announced the 15 finalists for the Naismith College Player of the Year award and Michael Bradley is among the candidates. Bradley is the first Wildcat to be included on the list of finalists since former All-American Kerry Kittles' senior year of 1995-96. The winner of the award will be announced by the Tipoff Club at a function in Atlanta on April 7.
New York, New York Villanova will depart for the Big East Tournament on Tuesday afternoon and travel via bus to Manhattan. The Big East will announce its player and coach of the year at the Grand Hyatt Hotel that evening. Both winners will be available to the media prior to the 7:00 p.m. banquet.
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 Temple 2-2 La Salle 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... Michael Bradley has led Villanova in scoring 24 times this year. The only others to lead the Wildcats in scoring are Jermaine Medley (twice) and Gary Buchanan. For good measure, Bradley has led or tied the `Cats in rebounding 22 times. Brooks Sales has done it three times, Buchanan and Ricky Wright once... One school record the Wildcats would prefer to avoid involves turnovers. Villanova has committed 511 through 27 games. That is 56 shy of the school record established in 1977-78 with one regular season game and postseason action still remaining. The 567 turnovers that stand as the present record took place in 32 games... Villanova plays its final regular season road game today. The Wildcats are 5-7 on the road and 3-4 in Big East play away from home... The Wildcats are scheduled to return to Philadelphia via commercial airline this evening... Gary Buchanan now has 92 assists, only three shy of team leader Medley's 95. Buchanan avaerages 3.4 apg.
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: 3-1 Thursday: 1-1 Friday: 0-1 Saturday: 4-4 Sunday: 2-1