Monday , Feb , 19 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Big East foes meet in Milwaukee

Milwaukee, WI (Sports Network) – Fresh off a heart-breaking loss, the Villanova
Wildcats will try to help their NCAA Tournament chances with a victory
over the 12th-ranked Marquette Golden Eagles in Big East Conference action.

On Saturday, Villanova hosted Georgetown, and the result was a 58-55 setback.
That loss halted a four-game win streak for the Wildcats, who are an even 6-6
in league play. On a more positive note, they are 18-8 overall and have
recorded several quality victories.

Marquette has hit a slump at the worst possible time, as it has lost three
straight games to fall to 21-7 overall and 8-5 in conference. Like the
Wildcats, the Golden Eagles lost in dramatic fashion on Saturday, as Louisville
hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to claim a 61-59 victory.

Villanova recorded a 72-67 victory over Marquette last season to increase its
lead to 6-3 in the all-time series.

Villanova is scoring 73.3 ppg this season while limiting opponents to 63.7 ppg
on 41.8 percent shooting from the floor. An obvious key to the Wildcats’
success is that they are outrebounding foes by 6.5 rpg. Also, they have forced
almost 450 turnovers. Curtis Sumpter paces the club with 17.2 ppg and 6.9 rpg,
while Mike Nardi is contributing 13.4 ppg to go along with 11 assists. Scottie
Reynolds has dished out 110 assists, and he rounds out the trio of double-digit
scorers with 12.0 ppg. Reynolds scored 18 points against Georgetown on
Saturday, but the standout freshman missed a three-pointer at the end of
regulation that would have forced overtime. Sumpter tallied 15 points for the
Wildcats, who connected on only 34.6 percent of their field goal attempts in
the clash.

Jerel McNeal scored only 18 points for Marquette in the painful loss to
Louisville. Unfortunately, the Golden Eagles did not have another double-digit
scorer in the contest. They earned a 30-22 rebounding advantage and held a 15-6
edge in points from the foul line. Still, Marquette lost the game because it
permitted the Cardinals to connect on 53.3 percent of their field goal
attempts. Dominic James is the leading scorer for the Golden Eagles with 15.1
ppg, and he has dished out 4.6 apg to go along with 55 steals. Unfortunately,
he has struggled in recent weeks, dropping his shooting efficiency to 40
percent for the season. McNeal is netting 14.6 ppg, and he has logged 74
steals. Wesley Matthews adds 11.9 ppg for Marquette, which is limiting foes to
just 63.1 ppg.

MARQUETTE VILLANOVA