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Analyzing the loss to Pitt

Sunday’s lost to Pittsburgh was the most agonizing defeat of the season for Wildcat fans. Every time Villanova had a chance to tie or take the lead, it seemed like Pittsburgh caught a break. Here’s a look at everything worth mentioning in Sunday’s loss:

  • There were plenty of excruciating moments in the loss, but no sequence proved more critical than with Villanova trailing by two and Scottie Reynolds on a fast break, Taylor King picking up an offensive foul. After a Gilbert Brown free throw, King then air-balled a 3-point attempt for the tie. Those were Villanova’s best two chances in the second half.
  • The Wildcats got within one score seven times in the second half but never tied or took the lead.
  • The officiating was a killer for the Wildcats. With Corey Fisher picking up two fouls in just over a minute, and Reynolds picking up his second just a few minutes later, Villanova was forced to play a lineup with not many scoring threats for the majority of the first half. It was lucky to trail just 29-23.
  • Being at the Zoo, the officiating as a whole was very inconsistent. While I would have rewatch the game to pick out every instance, three stick out particularly. 1) The crowd thought Reynolds should have been given an offensive foul, got loud and just a few seconds later Reynolds was given an offensive foul for a push-off that was legal. 2) Taylor King was falling down already when they called a charge on a Pitt player in the second half. 3) After a Villanova player was mugged, Antonio Pena got called for a foul and did not touch anyone. I believe this was the play before Wright’s technical. From a Villanova writer, this might sound biased, but I don’t recall a game in the Big East this year when I actually felt that the other team had more of a gripe with the officials than Villanova.
  • Speaking of fouls Fisher needs to show better judgment early in games. His second foul was a blocking call on a fast break. Rather than force the referees to make a tough call and risk being forced to the bench with two fouls, it might be better show some restraint and allow an early basket.
  • It was an up-and-down day for King. I mentioned his bad sequence of events earlier, but he did seem to regain his shooting stroke, connecting on a long 3-point attempt on his way to finishing with 5 points.
  • Reynolds was shut down early due to fouls and the defense of Jermaine Dixon, but he still managed to finish with 20 points.
  • Once again, the other three starters were almost non-existent offensively. Pena, Corey Stokes and Reggie Redding finished with a combined 23 points.
  • The bench has also disappeared recently for Villanova. It was outscored 24-10, a statistic that was unfathomable about a month ago.
  • The defense was improved for the Wildcats, as they held Pitt to just 35.1 percent from the field. The reasons they lost? 1) Differential at the foul line as Pitt shot 26-for-34 while Villanova was 11-for-16. 2) Offensive rebounding, where Pittsburgh held an 18-10 advantage. Credit Gary McGhee for grabbing 8 of those offensive rebounds.
  • Pittsburgh did a phenomenal job of controlling tempo. They made sure to use almost the entire shot clock on most possessions. When it gathered an offensive rebound, it wound the clock down again. Jaime Dixon also used his timeouts perfectly, slowing down the game and making sure Villanova did not begin to speed up the tempo at any time.

– David Cassilo

  1. February 22, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Great job breaking down the game. I do have a question though.

    “a few seconds later Reynolds was given an offensive foul for a push-off that was legal.”

    When is a push-off ever legal???

    Great breakdown of the game, Nova is a tough team to match-up with, I think Pitt really had to play their absolute best defensively to slow down the Wildcats.

  2. villanovansports
    February 22, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    Thanks for the compliments. I just didn’t think it was a push-off. I should have phrased it better.

  3. Yergs
    February 23, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    Alright, I’m gonna say the “S” word: Swagger.
    What our team really needs is the swagger we seemed to have at the end of last season and the beginning of this season. There is no confidence at all with this team. The freshman seem timid, and veteran players like Redding and Pena are afraid to take a jumpshot from right outside the paint. We need our confidence back, and soon because Syracuse, the Big East Tourney, and March Madness are right around the corner!

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