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.
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.
The postseason honors continue to roll in for Reynolds. The latest is being honored as a First Team All-American. The guard-heavy team (no player is taller than 6’7″) also features Big East Player of the Year Wesley Johnson.
Sherron Collins, Kansas (G, 5-11, 205, Sr., Chicago, Ill.)
Wesley Johnson, Syracuse (F, 6-7, 205, Jr., Corsicana, Texas)
Scottie Reynolds, Villanova (G, 6-2, 190, Sr., Herndon, Va.)
Evan Turner, Ohio State (G/F, 6-7, 205, Jr., Chicago, Ill.)
John Wall, Kentucky (G, 6-4, 195, Fr., Raleigh, N.C.)
Cole Aldrich, Kansas (C, 6-11, 245, Jr., Bloomington, Ind.)
James Anderson, Oklahoma State (G, 6-6, 210, Jr., Junction City, Ark.)
DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky (F, 6-11, 260, Fr., Mobile, Ala.)
Luke Harangody, Notre Dame (F, 6-8, 246, Sr., Schererville, Ind.)
Jon Scheyer, Duke (G, 6-5, 190, Sr., Northbrook, Ill.)
For the first time since 2003, Villanova was one-and-done in the Big East tournament. Instead of using the tournament as a way to start a turnaround, the Wildcats suffered their fifth loss in the last seven games. Let’s look at the latest of those defeats:
- Marquette was unbelievably hot from beyond the arc. It hit all six of its attempts in the second half. More than anyone else it was Darius Johnson-Odom who hurt the Wildcats. He was 5-for-7 from deep and finished with 24 points.
- One of the reasons the Golden Eagles were able to shoot so well from deep was their patience on offense. They routinely wound the shot clock down and waited for an open three. Villanova was often too slow to rotate, and Marquette was rewarded for its patience.
- The dagger was a Lazar Hayward 3-point shot that broke a 70-70 tie with 1:51 remaining. The Wildcats never managed to tie the game again.
- The win for Marquette was sweet revenge after losing four straight to Villanova. The last four meetings between the teams have been decided by a combined nine points.
- Scottie Reynolds played possibly his worst game of the Big East season. He hit just four of ten shots and finished with 10 points. He now stands 49 points behind Kerry Kittles for the the most points in Villanova history. The Wildcats would likely have to advance to the Sweet 16 for him to break the mark.
- Villanova got off to a very slow start, and one of the reasons why was its 10 first half turnovers. Effects of the double-bye or just the standard for Villanova now?
- Corey Stokes was clearly the Wildcats best player, scoring 22 points off the bench. He hit eight of nine shots, including six of seven from long range.
- Maalik Wayns had one of his better games in recent memory, scoring eight points off the bench.
- One Wildcat who had a particularly poor performance was Reggie Redding. He shot 1-for-9 from the field and finished with just two points. He also took a very questionable shot with Villanova down 73-70 with 1:20 remaining when he forced a layup in traffic. The Wildcats never had the ball down one score again. Despite the performance, Redding led the team with 38 minutes.
- Taylor King, who’s status was questionable until Tuesday, played two minutes, committed a reckless foul and was then benched for the rest of the game. Isaiah Armwood didn’t play at all.
- The Wildcats only committed 17 fouls, held the rebounding advantage and shot a higher-percentage than Marquette but still lost.
- After the game Reynolds made a very interesting comment by saying that he felt the Wildcats were better now than they were when they were ranked No. 2 in the country. Whether its delusion or trying to remain confident, the Wildcats do not sound like a team that is free-falling the last month.
– David Cassilo
Another Red Storm upset looked like it was a possibility, but in the end Marquette prevailed 57-55, and will now face Villanova in the Big East quarterfinals for the second straight season.
After trailing by as many as 14 points in the first half, St. John’s battled all the way back and held a 53-52 lead with 2:22 to play. Two possessions later, senior guard David Cubillan hit a three-point shot to put Marquette up for good. A half-court shot at the buzzer by St. John’s for the win was off target.
Now it’s a rematch against Villanova for the Golden Eagles. A year ago, Marquette rallied all the way back from a 16-point halftime deficit to take a one-point lead late in the game. However, its upset bid fell short as Villanova’s Dwayne Anderson hit a layup at the buzzer to give the Wildcats a 76-75.
The rivalry between the two teams grew as Villanova escaped Milwaukee with a 74-72 win on Jan. 2 when Scottie Reynolds sank the go-ahead basket with 19 seconds remaining.
A week later at Villanova, the Wildcats almost blew a 22-point lead, but managed to hold on 78-76.
Marquette will look to snap a four-game losing streak against Villanova at 2 p.m. tomorrow in the Big East quarterfinals.
When Scottie Reynolds was named the only unanimous selection to all-Big East first team, it seemed like it would suggest that he was the favorite to be named Villanova’s third Big East Player of the Year in school history. Apparently not.
The news broke on Tuesday that it was Syracuse’s Wesley Johnson, and not Reynolds, who would be taking home this year’s award. There’s a strong case that can be made for Johnson, and there’s no doubt that both could wind up as first team All-Americans. However, there is a better case for Reynolds, and here it is:
1) Scottie paid his dues
For four years Reynolds has become one of the faces of the Big East. He burst onto the scene his freshman year with a 40-point game in a win at UConn. His legend grew when he led a 12th-seeded Villanova team to the Sweet 16 as a sophomore. In the Elite Eight during his junior year, he hit the shot that made him a national name.
When the season is over Reynolds should be Villanova’s all-time leading scorer and one of the most memorable players in the school’s and the conference’s history.
Wesley Johnson, quite simply, is not.
It’s no knock on him, but the facts are that Johnson is essentially a one-and-done for Syracuse. He is a transfer from Iowa State that will most likely be headed to the NBA next season. Syracuse and the Big East are just a stop on Johnson’s path, not a home like Villanova and the conference are for Reynolds.
To me the situation is a lot like the 2002-’03 Player of the Year race. That year Syracuse forward Carmelo Anthony took the nation by storm as he averaged 22.2 points per game and 10 rebounds per game en route to an NCAA title.
While Anthony won a lot that season, one thing he didn’t win was Big East Player of the Year. That went to Big East lifer Troy Bell, the senior guard from Boston College who averaged 25.2 points per game. He was a better scorer than Reynolds was, but they were very similar players. Bell got the nod not just because of his stats, but likely also because of his career.
2) Reynolds was better than Johnson in Big East play
Overall this season Reynolds has averaged 18.8 points per game while Johnson is at 15.7. The disparity becomes much greater in Big East games. Reynolds was third in the Big East in scoring during conference play, elevating his scoring average to 19.9 ppg. Johnson’s scoring dipped to 14.8 ppg, good for only 16th in the conference.
Johnson cracked the 20-point mark three times during Big East games. Reynolds did it in nine games.
In his final nine games, Johnson scored more than 16 points just once. Reynolds scored at least 16 in every game.
There’s obviously more to a game than scoring, and Johnson clearly contributes more as a rebounder, averaging 8.5 per game. As a scorer, though, Reynolds was dominant and Johnson was run-of-the-mill in conference play.
Also, it’s true that Johnson suffered form a hand injury down the stretch and that hampered his play. However, Notre Dame’s Luke Harangody missed five games this season with a bone bruise, but his numbers are equally, if not more impressive than Johnson’s, so why not give it to him. And if you think Reynolds is 100 percent healthy after an 18-game Big East schedule, you are mistaken.
3) Reynolds is more important to his team
When Villanova was on the ropes against Louisville, Reynolds scored 30 points in the second half. When the Wildcats needed some one to hit a shot to beat Marquette, Reynolds threw the ball between his legs and then hit a running jumper. When his team needed a lift in the second half, he gave them one each game.
Reynolds is the best player on Villanova, and he has to be every game. It’s not the same for Johnson.
Johnson has surely had some memorable performances (the 20-point, 19-rebound performance against Seton Hall sticks out), but when he contributed less at the end of the season, it was okay. Andy Rautins, Rick Jackson and Arinze Onuaku could carry the load too.
Outside of the occasional dominant performance from Corey Fisher, Reynolds always carries the load. There is no player that means more to his team in the Big East than Reynolds.
Reynolds does-it-all for Villanova. He is the face of the program, and in many ways this year’s face of the Big East. Even without winning Player of the Year, he will be remembered within the conference much more often than Johnson will be. In many ways, he represented what the Big East was all about.