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Redding, Villanova knock off Pittsburgh

Jan 29, 2009 - 7:12 AM VILLANOVA, Pennsylvania (Ticker) -- Reggie Redding's career night helped Villanova close out its playing days at Philadelphia's Spectrum in winning fashion.

The junior scored a career-high 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds as the 21st-ranked Wildcats captured a 67-57 victory over third-ranked Pittsburgh on Wednesday in the final college basketball game at the storied arena.

Dante Cunningham added 15 points and Scottie Reynolds scored all 10 of his after halftime for the Wildcats (16-4, 4-3 Big East), who beat a ranked opponent for the first time this season after failing in four previous attempts.

Villanova took over midway through the second half with a 7-0 spurt. After Pittsburgh's Jermaine Dixon converted a three-point play, tying the game at 48-48, Redding knocked down a pair of free throws to put the Wildcats ahead.

Reynolds then sank a jumper for a four-point lead and followed with a 3-pointer for a 55-48 bulge. After not scoring in the first half, the junior opened the second with a basket from the arc and played a key part in the decisive run.

"In the end, they made some 3-pointers in the second half and we didn't," Dixon told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The Panthers would not get closer than four points the rest of the way as Villanova sank 8-of-10 free-throw attempts in the final two minutes.

"I don't think we shot the ball as well as we would have liked," Panthers forward Sam Young told the Post-Gazette. "I'm not sure if it was their defense. We struggled all night. It was just an overall bad night, bad shooting, foul trouble, turnovers. It was too much."

Young led Pittsburgh (18-2, 6-2) with 14 points, but DeJuan Blair was slowed by foul trouble throughout. Averaging a double-double with 14.7 points and 12.7 rebounds per game this season, Blair collected just seven points and eight boards.

"In our two losses, he's been in foul trouble," Pittsburgh point guard Levance Fields told the newspaper, referring to the 69-63 setback at Louisville on January 17. "Obviously, it's not good to play without him. When DeJuan isn't on the court, it hurts us a lot.

"It's good to have him out there. But we do have to do a better job of playing without him. I'm still out there, Sam (Young) is still out there. We have Gilbert (Brown), Brad (Wanamaker). We have guys who have played. We have to find a way to play a little better."

Pittsburgh raced out to a 19-9 lead behind seven straight points from Wanamaker, who scored 13 points off the bench.

But Villanova answered with a 15-4 run to take its first lead of the contest, 24-23, before the Panthers took a 31-26 advantage into halftime.

It was the final collegiate event at the 42-year-old Spectrum, which hosted the 1976 and 1981 Final Fours and was the site of Christian Laettner's famous buzzer-beater in Duke's win over Kentucky in the 1992 regional final.