Scottie Reynolds received yet another impressive distinction today when he was named first team All-America by the Associated Press. He is the first Villanova player to be given this honor since Randy Foye in 2006. Joining him on the team were John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Evan Turner and Wesley Johnson.
Reynolds averaged a career-best 18.2 points per game this season and shot 45.7 percent from the field.
He is the fourth Wildcat ever to be named to the team, joining Foye, Kerry Kittles and Paul Arizin.
Here’s the paper’s recap of the season. There’s a lot to check out as we move forward to next year.
Ok, I guess it is time to acknowledge that Villanova did in fact lose in the second round of the NCAA tournament. This post is going up mainly because it’s not fun to see that picture of Omar Samhan everyday. Soon, we will put the season is perspective. Like all Villanovans, it just takes time.
Much like Robert Morris, not many Villanova fans have gotten a chance to see St. Mary’s play this season. Here’s a look at who the Gaels are:
1) Who are they?
St. Mary’s is located in the small town of Moraga, Ca. The Gaels play in the West Coast Conference, where they won the postseason title after finishing second in the regular season standings. Their head coach is Randy Bennett, who in nine seasons with the Gaels has compiled a 207-107 record.
The Gaels starting lineup consists of freshman guard Matthew Dellavedova, junior guard Matthew McConnell, sophomore forward Clint Steindl, junior forward Ben Allen and senior center Omar Samhan.
2) How did they get here?
St. Mary’s went 27-5 this season and had an 11-3 conference record, which gave them a second place finish in the WCC. It knocked off top-seeded Gonzaga 81-62 in the WCC final to earn the automatic bid. St. Mary’s has won six straight games and 12-of-14 overall. Against NCAA tournament teams, St. Mary’s went 1-2 against Gonzaga and defeated Utah State, San Diego State and New Mexico State. It also suffered a two-point loss to Vanderbilt.
In the first-round, St. Mary’s easily defeated Richmond, 80-71.
3) Who to watch:
The Gaels best player is senior center Omar Samhan. He is one of just two players in Division I this season to average at least 20 points per game and 10 rebounds per game. The 6’11” California native had 29 points and 12 rebounds in the team’s first-round victory. Against Vanderbilt, the only other major-conference team the Gaels have played, Samhan had 25 points and 19 rebounds. He could be the biggest test of the season for the Villanova frontcourt.
4) What the expect:
The last two seasons, Villanova has played strongly in the second-round, defeating Siena and UCLA. This year’s second-round opponent is perhaps its best of the three. St. Mary’s has a great combination of inside play by Samhan and outside shooting by McConnell, Dellaverdova, Allen and Steindl. Defending all of its weapons will be a real test for the Wildcats. They will need to slow down Samhan with Mouphtaou Yarou and Maurice Sutton.
The Gaels are a relatively strong defensive team, but this will be the best offense they have faced all season. If Villanova is going to advance to its third straight Sweet 16, it will need to connect on the open shots it missed yesterday.
Down by eight points with 3:57 remaining, Villanova seemed destined to become the fifth 2-seed to fall to a 15-seed. Then, for perhaps the first time this season, the Wildcats got stops what they needed on defense against Robert Morris. Villanova rallied, forced overtime and eventually won its first game in over two weeks to advance to the second round.
“Phew,” said senior guard Scottie Reynolds. “I forgot what that felt like.”
It seemed like a cursed day from the start for Villanova. Head Coach Jay Wright decided before the game to bring Reynolds and junior guard Corey Fisher off the bench as a teaching point. What they did was not discussed after the game, but Reynolds tried to summed it up in his own way.
“You have to be excellent all the time,” said Reynolds. “You can’t have any of flaws.”
Reynolds’ team had many flaws in its first round game. The Wildcats were outrebounded 21-10 in the first half and trailed 28-22 at the break. Reynolds, Fisher, Corey Stokes, Antonio Pena and Reggie Redding combined for six points in the first half.
The game was put in Reynolds’ hands in the second half, particularly when the team was trailing by eight with 3:57 remaining. Despite shooting 1-for-14 from the field, Reynolds was able to get to the line consistently in the final few minutes, hitting seven-of-eight free throws. Overall, Reynolds made 15-of-16 free throws and finished with 20 points.
Freshman guard Karon Abraham, who finished with 23 points, had all the answers for Robert Morris. When Villanova was rallying, Abraham hit every big shot the Colonials needed, including a layup to break a tie at 56 with 1:07 remaining.
On the next possession, freshman center Mouphtaou Yarou, who finished with 17 points and eight rebounds, hit a layup to tie the game.
Abraham missed a chance to take the lead with 39 seconds left, and the Wildcats were able to take the shot for the win. Reynolds held the ball for the majority of the clock, but he missed the layup, and it was tipped out of bounds with 0.9 seconds remaining. For the win, Villanova ran an alley-oop inbounds play to redshirt freshman center Maurice Sutton, but he was unable to to connect.
In overtime, Villanova quickly took control, scoring the first six points. While it controlled the game for most of the overtime, Robert Morris battled back and found themselves down three points with 39 seconds remaining. Villanova inbounded the ball to Stokes, but Colonials senio guard Mezie Nwigwe stole the ball from him and hit a layup to cut the score to 68-67.
Yarou, Redding and Reynolds hit five-of-six free throws, and Robert Morris trailed 73-70 with nine seconds remaining. Unable to get the ball to Abraham, the Colonials settled for a desperation three-point attempt by Nwige that was off the mark.
The loss was tough to swallow for the Colonials.
“My insides just got torn out,” said Robert Morris head coach Mike Rice, who was fighting off tears after the loss. “I’m just proud to coach them.”
His team, who played the role of David well against the most recent Goliath, received a standing ovation from the Providence crowd as he left the floor.
As was first reported by The Villanovan, Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher will not start for Villanova today. Instead Maalik Wayns and Corey Stokes will take their place in the lineup.
Jeff Goodman of FOXSports.com, is reporting that the incident has nothing to with off-court issues.
Today it all begins. We are live from the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence for today’s action. Here’s some links from The Villanovan to get you started: