Thursday, December 07, 2006

Reynolds, Villanova Slam Sooners, 67-51, Ending OU's 49-Game Home Winning Streak Vs. Nonconference Opponents, Which Dated Back to the 20th Century!

by Craig Dimitri

On Wednesday, December 6, with ESPN's national cameras rolling, Villanova became the first non-Big XII team to win at Norman, Oklahoma, in the 21st century! The last one to previously achieve the feat, was a #4-ranked Cincinnati squad, which defeated the Sooners on December 22, 1999, at the Lloyd Noble Center.

Moreover, it was not just a victory, but a resounding victory for Villanova, which brought home a 16-point victory, 67-51. The Wildcats capitalized on 15 OU first-half turnovers, en route to a 36-25 halftime advantage, and never looked back. The Sooners would ultimately turn over the ball 24 times, their worst of the season thus far.

However, the key story line for the game was not the demise of the 49-game streak, or the rematch between two schools that had been ranked in the top 5 last season - it was Scottie Reynolds. Reynolds - a highly touted McDonald's All-American recruit - had originally signed to play for former Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson - who then abruptly decided to leave after the 2005-06 season, to replace Mike Davis at Indiana. As a result, Reynolds insisted on being released from his letter of intent, which OU granted. Oklahoma's loss was Villanova's gain, as Reynolds has been a spark plug all year (and is likely a better fit at Villanova, since he is from metropolitan Washington, than he would have been out at Norman.)

The OU crowd booed Reynolds whenever he touched the ball, and cheered when he was knocked to the floor after being fouled by OU's Taylor Griffin. But Reynolds had his revenge: he finished in double figures (10 points) and helped VU to a victory over new OU coach Jeff Capel's squad - which was paced by 19 points from freshman Tony Crocker, a career-high for him, and a dozen points from Longar Longar.

The keys for Villanova, outside of the Reynolds saga: Mike Nardi scored 23 points, a season-high for him, while converting eight of his first ten shots. Curtis Sumpter once again provided some offense, scoring 14 points and hitting back-to-back triples to break a Villanova scoring drought in the second half, helping the Wildcats to pull away.

Villanova improved to 7-1; Oklahoma fell to 4-3. The victory marked a sweep of the intersectional home-and-home series; last season, Villanova defeated top-5 Oklahoma at the Pavilion, in one of the most thrilling games in Pavilion history, called by Dick Vitale. The reason why it was so memorable: ordinarily, games of that caliber would be at the Wachovia Center. But fortunately, with the Wachovia Center hosting the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament, 'Nova could only play three home games there - and so as a result, 'Nova students had the thrill of cheering on the 'Cats on campus, to a victory over a top-5 opponent.

The Wildcats will now return home to face Drexel at the Pavilion - a team which has never defeated Villanova.

Questions? Comments? Information? You can contact Craig Dimitri at

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