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Wednesday, January 07, 2009


January 7, 2009

by Ray Floriani

NEWARK, NJ – This is going to be the norm in the Big East this winter. Seton Hall, 0-2 after being handled convincingly by Syracuse and West Virginia, takes eighteenth ranked Villanova to the wire before losing in overtime. The visiting Wildcats, who lost at Marquette on NewYear’sDay, earned their first conference win of the season with an 89-85 overtime victory at the Prudential Center.

Three keys to the victory….
• In a shootout between Scottie Reynolds of Villanova and the Hall’s Jeremy Hazell, the former got the edge. Reynolds tied his career high with a 40 point effort. He was effective getting in the lane and on the perimeter(5 of 8 from three)and especially in the stretch as he hit a succession of free throws to seal the verdict. Hazell led the Hall with 26 points but took 24 (9 of 24) shots in the process.

• Defense. Outside of banking in a trey to tie the game with eight seconds to play in regulation, Hazell did most of his damage the first half. He finished with 19 of Seton Hall’s 37 points at the break and was 5 of 10 from three. The second half, Reggie Redding was assigned to Hazell defensively and did a nice of of limiting him and not letting him get into a groove.

• Nova led by eight with four minutes to go and proceeded to score one field goal, Antonio Pena in the lane, the remainder of regulation. Again , overcoming a situation like that on the roads and pulling out the win is very significant.

• Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez was encouraged by John Garcia’s 12 board night, but ‘Nova’s Dante Cunningham had another sterling performance with 21 points 13 rebounds, and a number of them coming in crucial junctures. Another sign of encouragement for the Hall was freshman guard Jordan Theodore’s 9 points in eighteen minutes. “Tonight Theodore came of age,” said Gonzalez.

• Matchups. “They are guard oriented,” Gonzalez said of Villanova. “They are a good matchup for us in terms of size. They don’t have that size of a Pitt or Georgetown.”

• Quotes : “Everyone here who follows the Big East is not surprised. People around the country were but with nine ranked teams they follow the conference closer and are beginning to understand St.John’s beating a Notre Dame, these things happen all the time in this league. Hey, it’s fun and you never have to worry about getting up for a game.” – Villanova coach Jay Wright

• “In the Big East matchups and scheduling are important. Georgetown wins at UCONN and now they are 1-2. I’m not happy we are 0-3but a lot of it has to do with matchups and scheduling. Everyone in this conference will lose games.” – Bobby Gonzalez



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