To the Wildcat faithful-
The Christmas time cupcakes at the Pavilion, are always played in the midst of the holiday season, with fans often distracted with the assorted assembly of activities, essential to the Christmas season. There are more no-shows than normal, at the perpetually-packed Pavilion, as the ticketholders are - and with full justification - often at the Court of King of Prussia, rather than the Pavilion court.
And when the opponent is a cupcake - and the game isn't even on TV - the game is often overlooked. And the opponent was Delaware - the archrival in football, but not a power in basketball. Delaware entered the game with a 3-7 record, and has never beaten a Top 25 team.
And, moreover, the basketball Wildcats are in a rarely encountered situation - being overshadowed by the national champion football Wildcats, who captured their first title on December 18.
Finally, this was the final Wildcats game in 2009, as well as the final non-Big East opponent. The Wildcats will enjoy a nine-day Christmas break, not returning to the court until the Marquette game on January 2.
And so, with all of these distractions...
Early in the second half, the game seemed overlooked even to the Wildcat players on Wednesday, as the Delaware Blue Hens rallied from a 16-point halftime deficit, to trail by just eight points, 48-40, early in the second half. But the Wildcats took it from there, ultimately walloping the Blue Hens by 34 points, 97-63.
Reggie Redding, in his second game back from suspension, impressed with 16 points on near-perfect 6-7 shooting, along with half a dozen rebounds. The #8 Wildcats won their 33rd consecutive game at the Pavilion, and also triumphed in their final non-Big East game of the season (until the NCAA tournament in March, of course.) Scottie Reynolds led the Wildcats with 22 points and six assists.
Although perennial rivals on the gridiron, Wednesday marked the first time that the Wildcats and Blue Hens had clashed on the hardwood, in nearly a decade. The last previous meeting was in the 2000 NIT, at the Pavilion. In that first-round contest of the traditional tournament, the Steve Lappas-led Wildcats overcame the disappointment factor to triumph, 72-63. There were many empty seats, as the Wildcats had fallen just one game short of an at-large bid, after a loss to a superior St. John's team, in the Big East tournament the previous week. It was the final Pavilion game for Malik Allen, Brian Lynch, and T. J. Caouette.
Finally, it's worth noting that a decade after rejoining the Big Five round-robin, Villanova faced more Greater Philadelphia teams this year, than in many a season. In addition to the four City Series opponents, the Wildcats also hosted Drexel and Delaware, making it six regular-season games against other schools in the Philadelphia sphere of influence. And the Wildcats did quite well, winning five of the six contests. The sole loss was to Temple, and as discussed in previous posts, the Wildcats' 3-1 mark will likely be enough to capture a share of the Big Five crown (unless Temple goes 4-0).
Merry Christmas to All!!!!