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Villanova starts strong en route to win over Columbia

Dec 23, 2007 - 5:14 AM VILLANOVA, Pennsylvania (Ticker) -- Villanova did not need another big scoring game to keep its winning ways going.

Shane Clark scored 15 points and Scottie Reynolds added 14 as No. 16 Villanova recorded its fifth straight win, 72-56 over Columbia on Saturday.

Cracking 100 points in each of their previous two games, the Wildcats (9-1) continued their offensive success early.

Behind five points from Reynolds and four from Reggie Redding, Villanova scored the first 12 points of the game and after K.J. Matsui connected on a 3-pointer for Columbia, the Wildcats went on a 17-4 run.

"I thought I was going to run to the bus after the first five minutes," Columbia coach Joe Jones said of Villanova's great start.

Clark, who finished 5-of-9 from the field with three 3-pointers, capped the later spurt with a jumper, making it 29-7 with 8:51 remaining.

The Wildcats finished the first half with a 41-24 lead before cooling down.

Shooting just 37 percent (10-of-27) after the break, Villanova saw Columbia close within 62-52 with 5:15 left before ending the game with an 8-2 run.

"We defended better," Jones said of his club's attempted comeback. "The first 10 minutes of the game we couldn't stop them, but I thought we started to defend them better. In the second half, we did a better job guarding them. And they (Villanova) did miss some shots they normally make."

Putting up a combined 48 points in his previous two games, Reynolds ended up just 4-of-10 from the field.

Wright accounted for some of the Wildcats' scoring struggles in the second half by the team's decision to take the first shot available.

"I thought we didn't get it to Scottie (Reynolds) enough at that time," he said. "We had a lead and everybody took whatever shot came. I am not worried about that now. I was pleased that we got better defensively, and we've got to keep doing that."

The 10 field-goal attempts by Reynolds was his third-lowest total of the season.

Dante Cunningham had nine points and 12 rebounds as Villanova finished with a 39-27 advantage on the boards.

Matsui scored 19 points with six 3-pointers for the Lions (4-7), who dropped to 2-5 on the road.

"The kid, Matsui, we lost him a couple of times, but in the second half we did a good job on him," Wright said. "We have work to do, but I feel like we are getting better."

John Baumann added 13 points for Columbia, which shot 36 percent (20-of-56) from the game.

    --- --- -----
    COLUMBIA 24 32 56
    VILLANOVA (16) 41 31 72 FINAL

    Dec 22 8:56 PM


    Dec 22 7:49 PM
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    Columbia vs. Villanova(16)Dec 22 2:14 PM