for this game

Villanova ends Connecticut's 10-game winning streak

Feb 23, 2008 - 10:03 PM By Vince DiGregorio PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- What started out as a potential rout turned into a nail-biter.

Scottie Reynolds scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half to lead Villanova to a 67-65 victory over 13th-ranked Connecticut in Big East Conference action on Saturday at the Wachovia Center.

Freshman Corey Stokes came off the bench and also had 18 points for Villanova (17-9, 7-7 Big East), which is battling to make it to the Big East tournament in New York City. Antonio Pena was the other player in double figures for the Wildcats with 10 points.

"We don't really focus on (the Big East tournament) honestly," Reynolds said. "We're just focusing on the task at hand."

A.J. Price led Connecticut (21-6, 10-4) with 15 points. Price struggled from the field, however, connecting on only 6-of-22 shots. As a team, Connecticut shot 40 percent (22-of-55) from the field.

"I think you have to give Antonio Pena a lot of credit," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "He guarded (Price) most of the game."

Jeff Adrien had 15 points and 10 rebounds and Stanley Robinson added 15 points for the Huskies, who saw their 10-game winning streak snapped.

"It was a nice 10 straight wins," Robinson said. "Can't do nothing about it but move forward."

After suffering through a five-game losing streak, Villanova has won four of its last five, with the only loss a controversial two-point defeat at Georgetown when a foul was called with one-tenth of a second remaining.

"We're getting better each and every game," Reynolds said. "We can see our progress since the Georgetown (loss).

The Wildcats led by as many as 15 points in the first half before the Huskies rallied to take a one-point lead in the second.

Reynolds hit a 3-pointer that gave Villanova a 56-55 lead with 7:17 left. After Price hit from the arc to tie the score at 58-58, Reynolds gave the Wildcats the lead for good, 60-58, on a basket with 4:47 left.

Villanova held a slim lead the rest of the way although Price had a chance to knot the score when he was fouled with 6.4 seconds left. Yet, Price made just 1-of-2 free throws that kept Connecticut's deficit at 66-65.

"I let my team down by missing that free throw," Price said. "Any loss hurts, especially the way we lost this game. A game that we feel we should have won if we did all the things we were capable of doing. We just didn't bring our A game tonight."

Dante Cunningham could not take advantage for the Wildcats when he missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 4.9 seconds remaining. However, he ran down the loose ball and then converted 1-of-2 foul shots with 2.3 seconds left for the final margin.

"We fouled the right person," said UConn center Hasheem Thabeet, who had eight points and 10 rebounds. "We just couldn't get the rebound."

Villanova used its fast break to jump out to a 14-2 lead just over four minutes into the contest.

Connecticut pulled within 15-10 on two free throws by Doug Wiggins after a technical foul was called on Wright.

Stokes then helped Villanova go on an 18-8 run and take its biggest lead of the game at 33-18 with 3:29 remaining. Stokes led with 12 first-half points, all of which came on 3-pointers.

"Coach always tells me to come off the bench aggressive," Stokes said. "My teammates just look for me to get open shots. That's what I did."

However, Price and Robinson combined to score nine straight that cut the Wildcats' margin to 33-27 at halftime.

Price completed an 18-3 spurt by the Huskies that spanned intermission with a 3-point shot three minutes into the second period that tied the score at 36-36.

Reynolds helped the Wildcats regain their advantage by hitting a 3-pointer with 12:19 remaining for a 49-41 lead.

"I felt that Dante (Cunningham) did a good job of getting me screens and I had wide-open jumpers," Reynolds said.

UConn fought back again as Adrien scored on a layup to complete a 14-4 spurt that gave the Huskies their first lead, 55-53, with 7:42 remaining.

"(Villanova) started the game in a tough mode," Huskies coach Jim Calhoun said. "They were probably the tougher team for the whole game. I thought we came back and battled them. In my opinion, it was a winnable game for us."

Adrien became the 40th player in school history to reach 1,000 points in a career.

Villanova shot 42 percent (26-of-62) from the floor.