Villanova vs. Cincinnati: Wildcats Bear Down to Move to 3-0 in Big East
The Villanova Wildcats (14-1 overall, 3-0 Big East) outclawed the previously unbeaten Cincinnati Bearcats (15-1 overall, 2-1 Big East) 72 -61 on Sunday afternoon at the Pavilion. For the Wildcats, it was their ninth straight win and their 45th consecutive win at the Pavilion.
Corey Fisher had a monster first-half scoring 20 points, including three treys and 9 of 9 from the charity stripe. Cincinnati began the game with a brief flourish to take a 6-0 lead. The Wildcats battled back sparked by Fisher’s three three-pointers. The Wildcats took the lead for good 18-15 on a three pointer from Dominic Cheek. After an 11-0 run, The Wildcats had extended their lead to 37-21.
However, toward the end of the first- half, Fisher picked up his third foul, putting a crimp in the Villanova attack.
Nonetheless, at half-time, the Wildcats went to the locker room with a 39-23 lead.
Villanova held the Bearcats to 36% shooting in the first half. More importantly they limited Cincinnati to only 1 for 9 from beyond the arc before half time.
In the second half, it was Maalik Wayns who took over for the Wildcats, scoring 13 of his 15 points aftter the intermission to keep the Bearcats at arms length. The Wildcats built their lead to 21 points, 46-25. The Bearcats began cutting into the lead and the margin dwindled to 7 points several times, the last on two made foul shots by Cashmere Wright to make the score 57-50 with 9:02 left in the game. Villanova, however, did not panic and stretched the lead back to double digits on a Cheek dunk and subsequent foul shot to make it 62-50 with 7:53 left.
The Wildcats maintained their lead despite having all five starters in foul trouble. Each Villanova starting player had 4 fouls with 4:10 left to go in the game.
Fisher & Wayns were the only Wildcats in double figures. Fisher finished with 21 points, to go with 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 turnovers. Wayns finished with 15 points. Leading rebounders were Mouphtaou Yarou with 7 and Isaiah Armwood with 6. Armwood also blocked 4 shots.
For the Bearcats, who shot a wretched 2 for 20 from beyond the arc, Rashad Bishop was the leading scorer with 14 points. Yancey Gates chipped in 11, as did Sean Kirkpatrick. Gates was the leading rebounder for Cincinnati with 9 boards. Less than two minutes into the second half, the Bearcats Ibrahima Thomas was called for his fourth foul and when he argued with the referees he was assessed a technical foul for his fifth foul and was finished for the day. Cinci coach Mick Cronin was also slapped with a technical foul during the game for arguing with the officials.
Next up for the 7th ranked Villanova is another matchup with a top twenty-five ranked team, the 23rd ranked Louisville Cardinals, coached by Rick Pitino, at the Wells Fargo Center at 7 pm on Wednesday January 12, 2011.