Thursday, February 25, 2010

Senior Night: Reynolds, Redding End Pavilion Run With 74-49 Victory over South Florida

This is the placeholder article - full story coming... please check back for updates...

To the Wildcat faithful-

Scottie Reynolds and Reggie Redding wrapped up the tenure of one of the most successful classes in Villanova's illustrious history, with a 74-49 victory over South Florida, at the Pavilion, on Senior Night...

Reynolds led all scorers with 21 points, on 7-14 shooting, including 5-5 from the line.  Redding finished with only two points on 1-4 shooting, but provided his usual fine performance on defense, adding four rebounds, two assists, and two steals.

As a team, the #7 Wildcats were able to force no fewer than 23 South Florida turnovers, and the high miscue rate, was the chief reason for the Wildcats' victory - their 37th consecutive at the Pavilion.  Villanova snapped its two-game losing streak - the first time the team had lost back-to-back games, since the 2008 season.  The Wildcats improved to 12-3 Big East, 22-4 overall; USF fell to 6-9 Big East, 16-11 overall.

The Wildcats scored the first eight points of the contest, and although the Bulls remained competitive for a while, there was a fairly good sense throughout that Villanova would eventually put some distance between themselves and the visitors.  The 25-point final margin gives an exaggerated sense of the victory, though, as USF, although badly overmatched, put up a respectable battle.  It marked the fourth time the schools have met since USF joined the Big East, and Villanova's fourth victory.

The Bulls, nonetheless, have a fighting chance at the school's first NIT bid since 2002, and already have six league victories, including a road victory over Georgetown.  So it wasn't a cake walk for Villanova, which led 36-25 at halftime.

Although the spotlight was on the departing seniors - as it should have been - redshirt junior Antonio Pena provided some punch with 14 points and seven rebounds in only 27 minutes.  He also brought down an impressive pair of dunks, thrilling the crowd.

Near the end, the students began chanting for senior walk-on Russell Wooten, with about five minutes to play in regulation and the Wildcats enjoying a sizable lead.  Jay Wright sent Wooten to the scorer's table with about 2:15 to play, but unfortunately for Wooten, there was then no whistle for a while.  Wright finally called a time-out with 1:28 to play, indicating to the official to "run it through" (i.e., no timeout, just a whistle, have play resume, just to substitute).  So Wooten came in to a big ovation, although he wasn't able to take a shot.  Wright also gave Reynolds and Redding separate exits, each receiving a big hand from the Pavilion crowd

Next Up for the Wildcats

The showdown with current Big East leader, #4 Syracuse, is scheduled for 9 PM on Saturday.  Please check back, as I've set up a question exchange with the outstanding Syracuse SB Nation blog, Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician, in which insights into the Orange will be provided...  A huge crowd is expected to fill the Carrier Dome for the battle...

Go Wildcats!


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