Reynolds, Cunningham lead Villanova over La SalleDec 30, 2007 - 4:18 AM VILLANOVA, Pennsylvania (Ticker) -- Villanova continues to enjoy playing against teams from the Philadelphia area.
Scottie Reynolds scored 19 points and Dante Cunningham added 12 and 12 rebounds as No. 16 Villanova won its sixth straight game, 71-58, over La Salle on Saturday.
Villanova (10-1) also extended its Big Five-record winning streak to 14 games. The Wildcats had defeated Pennsylvania and Temple earlier this season, and play Saint Joseph's on February 4 for a chance to sweep the series of matchups for the third straight campaign.
"(The Big Five) is new to a lot of these guys," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "I don't think they realize anything about the streak. This was a good learning experience for them. This one was very physical. It was like a Big East game."
Freshman Corey Fisher chipped in 18 points for the Wildcats, who held the Explorers to just 38 percent shooting (21-of-55) for the game.
"The Big Five is important to us," La Salle coach John Giannini said. "Just because it's such an accurate measuring stick of where you're gonna be nationally. If you're the best team in Philadelphia, history shows you're gonna be a national program."
"For Villanova to be on this streak is historic and a tremendous credit to them. Whoever breaks it will have a small piece of Big Five lore themselves. I think being good in Philadelphia is a big deal if you want to be good outside of Philadelphia."
La Salle had held a two-point lead midway through the first half before Fisher scored nine straight points during a 13-0 run that gave the Wildcats a 28-17 advantage with 8:11 left in the half.
Villanova led by at least seven points for the remainder of the half and held a 43-30 bulge at the break. Cunningham led the way with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting and grabbed nine of his rebounds in the first half.
"I thought the game was decided, in retrospect, in the first half," Giannini said. "I think the second half was extremely evenly played. I thought every time they expanded their lead, we had an answer for it.
"It's just that we couldn't overcome that deficit that we started out with in the first 20 minutes."
The Wildcats maintained a double-digit lead for most the second half despite missing 13 of their first 14 shots. An 8-2 run gave Villanova its largest lead at 56-40 with 8:02 remaining.
La Salle pulled within single digits for the first time in the second half at 60-51 with 3:14 left in the game. But Reynolds scored the next five points on two foul shots and a 3-pointer to give Villanova some breathing room.
"I think we showed a lot of poise out there," Reynolds said. "We just kept playing each and every possession, whether it was going our way or not. Just be aggressive."
Darnell Harris scored the first nine points for La Salle (4-7) and led the Explorers with 16 points.
La Salle was hurt by 22 turnovers that led to 27 points for Villanova.
"Passing the ball is a weakness for us," Giannini said of the turnovers. "It's unfortunate, but it's not a surprise."
Prior to the game, the Wildcats announced that sophomore center Casiem Drummond had been diagnosed with a stress fracture in his right ankle and would be out of the lineup indefinitely. His injury will be re-evaluated in two weeks.
- NCAA BB
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
LA SALLE 30 28 58
VILLANOVA (16) 43 28 71 FINAL
Dec 29 9:01 PM
- NCAA BB
LA SALLE 30
(16) VILLANOVA 43 HALFTIME
Dec 29 7:50 PM
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