Home > Uncategorized > Villanova 77 Notre Dame 60: Rapid Reaction

Villanova 77 Notre Dame 60: Rapid Reaction

Villanova Notre Dame Basketball

Being asked to go into South Bend to win a game is a tall task itself.  However, when you add a loss to Georgetown, a chance at a double-bye and a chance to play in Philadelphia in the NCAA Tournament into the mix, Villanova may have been facing the most pressure it has had in any game this season.  

The way they responded to that pressure showed that the Wildcats are ready for the postseason.  It was their first game in the month of March, and they played like they expect there to be many more.

From the opening moments it became clear that Villanova, and specifically Scottie Reynolds, came ready to play.  In what was a back and forth first half, Villanova had an answer to every single run by the Fighting Irish.  Reynolds paced the team by attacking the basket and shooting very well from the perimeter.  He finished the game with 23 points, six rebounds and five assists.  He also connected on six of seven shots from behind the arc.

In the second half, the Wildcats seized control behind their leader Dante Cunningham.  The senior forward went at Luke Harangody repeatedly, and more often than not, came away with success.  His final stat totals included 18 points and eight rebounds.

The reason Villanova was able to pull away and get the easy victory was the same reason they struggled at times over the past month: their defense.  The Wildcats did a tremendous job constantly switching their defenders on Harangody and Kyle McAlarney.  The job they did on McAlarney was especially phenomenal as he only was able to attempt seven shots the entire game.  He finished with just five points, his second lowest total of the season.

The 60 points that Notre Dame scored was the lowest total they had registered all season.  They came into the contest averaging 77.7 points per game.

Before the game, Head Coach Jay Wright said that this was the worst defensive team he had ever coached at Villanova.  Perhaps, this was a strategic move to motivate his team.

The win means that if Villanova beats Providence on Thursday, they will need a loss by Marquette in one of their final two games for the Wildcats to secure the double-bye in the Big East Tournament.  Marquette is back in action Wednesday when they travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Panthers.

-David Cassilo

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