Tuesday, February 14, 2006


By Craig Dimitri

On Monday night, at the Wachovia Center, the #4 Villanova Wildcats delivered one of the program’s greatest wins in a generation, knocking off #1 Connecticut, 69-64. A record-setting crowd (breaking the mark set several weeks ago when Syracuse arrived) watched the contest, and the VU student section stormed the court afterwards (a first for VU at the Wachovia Center, where court-storming is difficult due to the low angle of the behind-the-basket seating.

It was Villanova’s first chance at taking out the #1-ranked team since December 30, 1998, when the Wildcats were buried, 100-76, at the Hartford Civic Center. And it was Villanova’s first victory over #1 since 1995, when the Kerry Kittles/Jason Lawson/Alvin Williams/Eric Eberz squad pulverized the Huskies on the road…

The heroes were Will Sheridan – who had the greatest game of his career - and Allan Ray, who overcame a hellish first half to finish with 25 points. Sheridan’s explosion was a highly unexpected one; the unassuming junior scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for a double-double. The points came at a particularly critical juncture in the second half, where Sheridan – abandoned by the Huskies’ defense, due to the quickness and volatile nature of the VU guard quartet – kept hitting bucket after bucket. The 13 points were a lucky one for ‘Nova tonight… (and tied Sheridan’s career-high).

If the Wildcats can defeat nationally ranked Georgetown on Saturday, it appears that they would leapfrog over both Connecticut and #3 Memphis in both polls, and move to #2 behind Duke (assuming that the Blue Devils win both of their games this week, against weak opponents at Cameron Indoor Stadium).

It was arguably the greatest victory in the Jay Wright era on the Main Line, which has now entered its fifth season. The only other game of comparable significance was the victory over Florida in the second round of last year’s NCAA tournament. However, Florida was nowhere near as good as UConn is now, and so this was a more substantial accomplishment (and ‘Nova also had Curtis Sumpter for part of that game, before he was injured in the contest…)

Obviously, this is the very concise version of one of the greatest nights in Villanova basketball history. Stop back and read the detailed version of the game, which will come later. It will fully chronicle this historic contest, one which will be justifiably remembered as a fitting addition to Villanova’s illustrious - and glorious - basketball tradition…

Go Wildcats!

No comments: