8Seton Hall
89 - 85 Final - OT
  for this game

Reynolds goes for 40 as Villanova squeaks past Seton Hall

Jan 7, 2009 - 7:11 AM NEWARK, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Villanova needed all of Scottie Reynolds' breakout performance to avoid a slow start in the Big East.

Reynolds converted four free throws in the closing 14 seconds and finished with career high-tying 40 points as No. 17 Villanova posted an 89-85 overtime victory over Seton Hall on Tuesday.

Reynolds ended up making 15-of-16 foul shots and 10-of-17 shots from the field with five 3-pointers en route to matching his 40-point effort from a win at Connecticut on February 28, 2007, when he was a freshman.

"You know what's funny? I had no idea he had 40 or even close to 40," Villanova coach Jay Wright told The Philadelphia Inquirer. "Someone said to me outside the locker room, 'Hey the kid had 40.' He was great. In a close game like this, he loves to have the ball in his hands."

"Scottie Reynolds, 40 points," Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez told The New Jersey Star-Ledger. "I've never had a kid play against me and get 40. I've been coaching as a head coach for 10 years, and that's pretty remarkable."

While he may like to have the ball with the game on the line, Reynolds had not shown the type of offensive explosiveness that he had on Tuesday much this season, going over 20 points just twice in his first 14 games.

Reynolds had just 15 when Villanova dropped a 79-72 decision at Marquette in its league opener Thursday.

Despite the effort of Reynolds, the Wildcats (13-2, 1-1 Big East) could not shake the pesky Pirates until very late.

The contest was tied for the third time in the extra session at 83-83 when Dante Cunningham made a pair of free throws with 58 seconds left to give the Wildcats the lead for good.

The Pirates (9-6, 0-3) attempted to knot the game once again, but John Garcia traveled in the lane after taking a pass from a driving Eugene Harvey with 18 seconds to play.

Reynolds was then fouled on a drive four ticks later, making two attempts for the first of two straight possessions as Villanova ended the game by converting its last 18 shots from the stripe.

Overall, the Wildcats went 24-of-30 on foul shots.

"We were in the game the whole way," Pirates guard Jeremy Hazell told The Star-Ledger. "In the end, they just got to all the loose balls, the 50-50 balls, the second and third tips. They just got to all the loose balls and made a couple of big free throws."

Seton Hall, which had been blown out by an average of 25 points in its first two league games, was trailing, 74-66, with 3:11 left when Antonio Pena converted a layup for Villanova.

However, the Pirates responded with a 7-0 run, closing within 74-73 on a layup by Garcia. After Reynolds sank two free throws with 21 seconds left in regulation, Hazell came up with a big shot when he banked in a 3-pointer after curling off a screen on the left wing.

The Wildcats had a chance for a last-second win, but Reynolds stumbled on a drive and missed an off-balance layup.

Hazell finished with 26 points and six 3-pointers for Seton Hall, which has lost five of its last six games.

"Villanova's the best matchup for us," Gonzalez told The Star-Ledger. "We needed to steal it and we didn't. ... I'm not going to say that we deserved to win, but I thought that we outplayed them for the majority of the game."

Hazell was carrying the Pirates early, scoring 19 points with five baskets from the arc in the first half to give his team a 37-35 lead at the break.

"We said coming in here that we cannot let Hazell get it going, because once he gets it going, he's one of those guys that can keep it going," Wright told The Star-Ledger.

Hazell added a pair of jumpers in the opening 4 1/2 minutes of the second half, giving Seton Hall a 47-40 cushion.

However, Hazell was limited thereafter, missing the only two shots he attempted until he banked in the clutch 3-pointer.

With Hazell in check, Villanova went on a 15-4 run to grab a 55-51 edge with 11:01 remaining. Reynolds scored 10 points during the run.

Although the Pirates tied the game at 55-55, the Wildcats later had a 13-4 spurt, going ahead 72-64 with 4:04 to play. Cunningham scored five in the burst en route to finishing with 21 points.

Cunningham shot only 7-of-20 in notching his fourth straight effort in double figures but also grabbed 13 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season.

"He's a Big East warrior," Wright told The Star-Ledger of Cunningham. "I'm so glad he's on our side."

Dwayne Anderson added nine points and 15 boards for Villanova, which finished with a 49-43 advantage on the glass.

Harvey had 19 points and nine assists and Robert Mitchell scored 13 for Seton Hall, which travels to Notre Dame on Saturday.