No. 3 Nova survives scare with win over Penn
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – Allan Ray scored 19 points and backcourt
mate Randy Foye tallied 16, as No. 3 Villanova sprinted to a large second-half
lead then held on to defeat Penn, 62-55, in a Big Five game at the Palestra.
Mike Nardi contributed 14 points for the Wildcats (7-0), who are off to their
best start since the 1995-96 season.
Ibrahim Jaaber led the Quakers (3-4) with 14 points, 13 coming in the second
half, while Friedrich Ebede tallied his first career double-double with 13
points and 10 rebounds.
Mark Zoller contributed 12 points and Brian Grandieri scored 10 points in the
The Wildcats toughest test of the young season came from a scrappy Quaker
squad that didn’t blink when trailing by 21 points in the second half.
Villanova went over 11 1/2 minutes without a field goal before Foye buried a
step-back jumper from the left corner to give the Wildcats a 59-53 lead with
53 seconds remaining.
Prior to the bucket, Penn had sliced the lead to 57-53 behind a furious 24-7
Jaaber put his poor first half behind him and asserted himself at the exact
time the Wildcats went cold from the floor.
A three-pointer by Jaaber got the ball rolling, then Zoller converted a
Wildcat turnover into a layup and Ebede and Jaaber each converted two free
Ebede went up strong for a layup and Jaaber buried a jumper that sent the Penn
student section into a frenzy. Another Jaaber free throw capped an 14-0 run
that had turned a comfortable laugher into a classic Big Five finish.
Leading 57-51 and with possession of the ball, Villanova was assessed a
technical foul for having six players on the floor, sending an irate
Villanova head coach Jay Wright into a frenzy toward the officiating crew.
Jaaber made both technical free throws to again trim the lead to four, but
Foye’s jumper sealed the victory.
The Villanova guards showed they aren’t just scorers during the opening eight
minutes of the game. While Foye and Ray were struggling to find their shots,
the four-guard set employed by Wright tormented Penn’s perimeter offense.
The guards were in every passing lane, contested every Quaker field-goal
attempt and held Penn to just three baskets in the opening 10 minutes.
However, the Wildcats only held a 13-8 edge.
Methodically, Villanova increased its advantage to double-digits, 26-16, on
Nardi’s trey from the left wing with 5:31 to go in the half.
The Quakers stayed close throughout the remainder of the half, partly because
Wildcats starting point guard Kyle Lowry played just one minute after picking
up two early fouls.
Nardi led the Wildcats with 10 points, as Villanova held a 32-23 halftime
Lowry picked up his third foul with 19:02 left in the game with the Wildcats
holding a 34-26 advantage.
Foye has scored 104 points in his last four games…Villanova owns a 36-17
edge in the all-time series and has won eight of the last 10
meetings…Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell was in attendance…Lowry was
plagued by foul trouble throughout and was held scoreless…The Wildcats made
6-of-19 from beyond the arc, while Penn made just 1-of-20.