Foye stars as No. 3 Villanova tops No. 9 Louisville
Louisville, KY (Sports Network) – Randy Foye poured in 24 points and grabbed
nine rebounds to lead third-ranked Villanova past No. 9 Louisville, 76-67, in
a battle between a pair of Big East heavyweights at Freedom Hall.
Allan Ray added 17 points while Jason Fraser contributed 13 points and 10
boards for the Wildcats (10-0, 1-0 Big East), who are off to the school’s best
start since the 1961-62 club opened the season with 12 consecutive wins.
“He’s (Fraser) such a warrior,” said Villanova head coach Jay Wright. “When
you look at all the surgeries, it was probably nothing to him. I’m just so
happy for him. When it comes to him it’s bigger than the game. I’m just so
happy to see him on the floor. He’s really tough, a great competitor. The game
was fast, he kept great composure and was always under control.”
David Padgett had 17 points and six rebounds before fouling out for the
Cardinals (11-2, 0-1), who had a five-game winning streak snapped. Brandon
Jenkins netted 12 points and Chad Millard contributed 11 in the loss.
“Villanova is certainly deserving of its ranking,” said Louisville head
coach Rick Pitino. “They are a great basketball team, difficult to guard on
both ends of court and they have experience and great tenacity…Our effort
was terrific, our guys played as hard as they could and their effort was good.
Villanova was just a better basketball team.”
Louisville, which played its first-ever Big East Conference game, lost for the
first time in 11 home games this season. The Cardinals had also won 13
straight in Freedom Hall dating back to last year.
Villanova got off to a fast start as it scored the first eight points of the
game. Foye had six during the quick run and Kyle Lowry’s layup with 17:08 left
capped the flurry and made it 8-0.
Louisville did close within six moments later, but the Wildcats quickly used a
6-0 spurt to widen the gap to double digits. Foye had four points and Lowry
added a layup to extend the advantage to 21-9 with just under 11 minutes to go
in the first stanza.
The Cardinals, though, had an answer. Trailing 30-20 moments later, Louisville
ripped off a 9-0 spurt to close within one. Bryan Harvey had five points
during the barrage, including a three that capped the run, to make it a 30-29
contest with 2:36 left in the half.
Villanova, however, closed out the period on a 6-1 run and took a 36-30 lead
into the half. Foye had 15 points and seven rebounds in the first half, while
Millard paced the Cards with seven points in the opening 20 minutes.
In the second half, the Wildcats increased the lead to 53-40 on Mike Nardi’s
three-pointer with 13:22 left in the game, but Louisville answered with eight
consecutive points to climb within five.
The Cardinals did trim the gap to 57-54 moments later, but Villanova took over
from there. The Wildcats quickly used a 9-0 spurt, keyed by four points from
Fraser and a three by Ray, to forge ahead by 12 with 4:42 remaining in the
“Obviously this was an incredible Big East battle,” said Wright. “We just said
to ourselves, this is BIG EAST game No. 1 – it tells you what this league will
be like…Timely shots by Allan Ray, Jason Frazier and Dante Cunningham kept
us in the game. Every time Louisville made runs at us, those guys made big
plays. Game number one in the Big East, that’s what it’s going to be like.”
Louisville never got any closer than seven points the rest of the way.
Foye was 8-of-9 from the foul line while Ray made all six of his attempts from
the charity stripe…The Wildcats made 6-of-17 shots from three-point
range…Louisville guard Taquan Dean was plagued by foul trouble and scored
only nine points in 18 minutes of action…The Cardinals hit just 3-of-20
attempts from behind the arc…Villanova’s 10-game winning streak is the
school’s longest in a season since winning 11 in a row during the 1994-95
campaign…This marked the Wildcats’ first trip to Louisville since December
28, 1953…The Cardinals lead the all-time series 5-4.