Longhorns come to City of Brotherly Love
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – The 21st-ranked Texas Longhorns of the
Big 12 and the Villanova Wildcats of the Big East will meet at the
Wachovia Center in Philadelphia today.
Texas took part in arguably the best game of the college basketball season
on Tuesday, and although the result was a 105-103 triple-overtime loss to
Oklahoma State on the road, the Longhorns showed a great deal of toughness and
poise. That loss halted a five-game winning streak for Texas, which is 13-4
overall and 3-1 in league play.
Villanova is a solid 12-5 overall, but that record is overshadowed a bit
by the team’s 2-3 mark against Big East opposition. The Wildcats are
coming off a 102-87 victory over nationally-ranked Notre Dame on Wednesday,
and the hope is that the squad will be able to carry that momentum into this
tilt. Texas beat Villanova last season by a score of 58-55 in the first-ever
meeting between the two teams.
We are now three weeks into January, and it is quite clear that a freshman is
the best player in college basketball. Texas forward Kevin Durant was playing
high school ball at this time last year, and now he is averaging 24.5 ppg and
11.1 rpg while blocking nearly two shots per game. Durant has been the leading
scorer for the ‘Horns in eight straight outings, and he has tallied 34 or more
points in three of the last four. Durant tied his career high with 37 points in
the marathon loss to Oklahoma State, and he pulled down 12 rebounds as well.
All five Texas starters scored in double figures, as D.J. Augustin showed off
his all-around game with 19 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. Justin
Mason had 18 points, A.J. Abrams scored 13 points and Damion James finished
with 10 points and 11 boards. The Longhorns turned the ball over 20 times and
shot a lackluster 40.2 percent from the field. Abrams is averaging 16.5 ppg,
while Augustin is contributing 13.7 ppg and nearly seven assists per contest.
Scottie Reynolds has emerged as a major offensive contributor for Villanova
recently, as he has led the team in scoring in three of the last four games. In
the big win over Notre Dame, Reynolds poured in 27 points on 8-of-12 shooting
from the floor and 9-of-10 from the foul line. Curtis Sumpter netted 21 points
for the Wildcats, and Dante Cunningham posted 19 points. Rounding out a
foursome of double-digit scorers was Mike Nardi with 18 points, and he dished
out seven assists as well. Villanova shot 56.7 percent from the floor in the
contest, including a 10-of-21 effort from three-point range. The Wildcats also
earned a 40-26 rebounding advantage, and they shot 24-of-28 from the foul line.
Sumpter leads the club with 18.9 ppg, and he is pulling down 6.8 rpg. Nardi
checks in with 14.1 ppg, and Reynolds has bumped his average to 10.9 ppg on the
strength of his strong play recently.