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Villanova 89 Syracuse 86: Rapid Reaction

Villanova Syracuse Basketball

It was a game that got way too exciting way too quickly in the final minute, but nevertheless, Villanova prevailed with a hard fought 89-86 victory at the Carrier Dome.

Once again, Villanova was able to shoot the lights out against the Orange, as they made 32 of their 61 shots.  They finished the game with six guys in double figures.  Dwayne Anderson had 22, Corey Fisher had 16, Shane Clark had 15, Dante Cunningham had 12, Reggie Redding had 11 and Scottie Reynolds had 10.

All six had an impact on the game so let’s break them down one by one.  Anderson was the reason Villanova won this game.  He started off hot, hitting his first three 3-point attempts.  He never relented and contributed in every way.  The 22 points were a career-high for Anderson.

Fisher was once again a force off the bench.  When he is on the floor, this team is dramatically better.  He was extremely efficient, making 5-6 shots, and played solid defensively as well.

Clark has turned into an Orange killer in his final season as a Wildcat.  He was all over the place on the glass and made several key shots, finishing the game with 15 points and 8 rebounds.  When Clark has a game like this, it is hard to beat Villanova.

Cunningham, who had 31 points the last time these two teams met, did not have a particular good game.  Although he had a double-double and six assists, he made just 5 of 14 shots and sat for about five minutes in the second half when he picked up his fourth foul.

One player who was a difference maker was Redding.  In arguably his best game of the season, Redding played very well, particularly defensively, where he changed the game with his six steals.  For some one who gets a lot of abuse from the fans, Redding should hear nothing after this game.

Finally, we come to Reynolds.  Although he started well, Wright was clearly upset with him as he had Reynolds on the bench for substantial periods of time causing him to only log 23 minutes.  In the end of the game, Reynolds picked up two key traveling calls that allowed Syracuse back in the game.  Luckily, they were able to win or else Reynolds would have been given the title of scapegoat.

Looking at Syracuse briefly, the team lived and died by the 3-point shot as they attempted 39 shots from long range.  Eventually, though, they died by it as they missed three open looks in the final seven seconds to tie the game.  

Looking at what this game means to Villanova, it was truly a huge victory.  This basically solidifies that the Wildcats will finish fifth of higher in the Big East.  They have a legitimate shot at the double-bye, as only a trip to Notre Dame on March 2nd looks like a potential tough game.

However, and this is something I will get to in a separate post before the DePaul game on Wednesday, the defense is still downright terrible for Villanova.  They now have two weeks to correct it before the Big East Tournament.

All things considered though, Villanova did what they had to and played very well offensively to get a win.  This time tomorrow, they could be a top-10 team in the country.

-David Cassilo

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