Friday, March 13, 2009

Triskaidekaphobia Strikes #4 Villanova Again, Unraveling in 2nd Half Against Top-Seeded Louisville in Big East Semifinal, 69-55

To the Wildcat faithful-

So maybe there is something to triskaidekaphobia - at least as far as Villanova is for concerned... Playing on Friday the 13th for two consecutive months, the results were equally horrific. On Feb. 13, 'Nova was annihilated at West Virginia, while ranked #13 in the AP poll. Tonight, 'Nova was ranked #13 in the less-influential ESPN/USA Today poll, and after an outstanding first half, imploded in the second half and fell to top-seeded Louisville, 69-55. The double-digit loss came, ironically, after Villanova had led 34-26 at intermission.

Looking at the box score...

Three Wildcats reached double figures, in spite of the fact that the team scored just 55 points. Dante Cunningham and Corey Fisher each had 14 points, while Dwayne Anderson had a dozen. Nobody else had more than five points (although in light of the low score that is not surprising.)


Cunningham fell into foul trouble again, as he had against Marquette on Thursday, but he had a major impact, having a solid game. He nearly had a double-double with nine rebounds in 24 minutes and 5-11 shooting, adding one block and one turnover.

Reynolds had one of the worst games of his career. On the plus side, he had two points, three assists, four steals, and four rebounds in 38 minutes... On the minus side - he took only six shots, making just one field goal, committed half a dozen turnovers, and was a major reason why Villanova's offense could not score in the second half; the Wildcats managed only 21 points after halftime.

Anderson had a superb game, giving Jay Wright an additional weapon. In 29 minutes, the hero of the victory over Marquette, scored a dozen points on 5-8 shooting, had five rebounds, two assists and a block; the only negative was four turnovers.

Shane Clark did not have an impact on offense - he was 0-6 from the floor and committed two turnovers, but he was 5-6 from the line, had a pair of rebounds and assists, in 21 minutes.

Reggie Redding fulfilled his role, shooting 1-3 from the floor (and 1-4 from the line), but grabbed half a dozen rebounds, an assist - and most importantly, committed no turnovers in 32 minutes).

The Bench

Fisher - in 24 minutes - scored 14 points on 4-8 shooting (including 3-5 from three-point range), had three assists, two rebounds and two steals, but committed an appalling seven turnovers, including some egregious ones that led to easy Louisville baskets in transition.

Stokes - in 23 minutes - really struggled from the floor, going just 2-9 from the floor and 1-5 from beyond the arc, finishing with just five points and committing two turnovers. However, he really made an impact on the glass, with half a dozen rebounds.

Antonio Pena played seven minutes, but had little impact, positive or negative - he missed one shot and had one rebound and one turnover.

As a team, the Wildcats shot just 34.6% from the floor, and actually shot a little better from long-range, 35.3% (6-17). They did their usual fine job at the foul line, converting 13 of 17 attempts, 76.5%. What absolutely sunk them were the turnovers - 23 of them, against a dozen assists.

Louisville had a dozen steals and eight blocks - an indication of the havoc they wreaked with Villanova's offense in the second half...

Why did Villanova lose tonight, and why did Louisville win?

The central reason for the defeat was whatever went on at halftime. In the first half, Villanova not only led by a 34-26 margin, they had dominated play, on the offensive glass and in transition...

Various Viewpoints

Go get the good stuff from the other Villanova blogs...

Villanova by the Numbers
Nova News

Lets Go Nova

And for an outstanding perspective from the Louisville side, go to Mike Rutherford's Card Chronicle...

Go Wildcats!

There are two ways you can contact Villanova Viewpoint. One is by commenting on this blog. Comments are encouraged. Also, you can e-mail (Important note: This is a different e-mail address than before. Please use this new one.)

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