for this game

Reynolds, Villanova survive late surge by Providence

Feb 5, 2009 - 6:40 AM PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island (Ticker) -- Villanova nearly learned the hard way that there is no safe lead, especially in a Big East road game.

Scottie Reynolds scored 31 points and No. 16 Villanova needed them all in holding on for a 94-91 victory over Providence on Wednesday.

Dwayne Anderson had 19 points and 10 rebounds and Dante Cunningham added 12 and 11 for the Wildcats (18-4, 6-3 Big East), who beat the Friars for the sixth straight time.

Although it built a 59-39 advantage with 15:40 remaining, Villanova was left to sweat it out at the end as pesky Providence came up with big shot after big shot.

"It certainly wasn't pretty," Villanova coach Jay Wright told the Providence Journal. "I have to give Providence credit. They came back and battled and battled. I give our guys credit for hanging in. Hey, it's a road game in the Big East. You take it and go home."

Jonathan Kale's jumper with 55 seconds left closed the Friars within 82-77. They followed with a press on the ensuing inbounds, and Geoff McDermott got a steal off an ill-advised pass before finding Kale in the lane.

However, Reggie Reading blocked Kale's attempt and picked up the ball before firing a long pass to Reynolds for a uncontested layup with 45 ticks remaining.

That setback did not stop Providence, which got within 88-84 on Sharaud Curry's deep 3-pointer from the right sideline with 23 seconds to play. The Friars quickly fouled, and Reynolds made two free throws.

Yet, Curry hit another 3-pointer coming up in transition to make it a 90-87 contest with 17 ticks left.

Anderson was fouled and made two fouls shots to give the Wildcats a seemingly safe 92-87 lead with 10 seconds left.

However, Curry missed a 3-pointer and Kale grabbed the offensive rebound and was fouled with six ticks remaining. Kale converted the first and missed the second, but Weyinmi Efejuku chased down the rebound in the right corner, stepped back and hit his fourth 3-pointer of the game, closing the Friars within a point at 92-91 with four seconds left.

Reynolds made two more foul shots, finishing 13-of-15 at the stripe, and Anderson intercepted Providence's last-ditch long pass to seal the win.

Redding also had 12 points and 11 rebounds as Villanova finished with three players with a double-double. It ended up with a 50-38 advantage on the boards.

Corey Fisher chipped in 12 points off the bench as the Wildcats scored 90-plus points for the third time this season. They shot 44 percent (30-of-68) and converted 25-of-33 free throws.

It was also the fourth straight game in which Providence had allowed an opponent to reach 90 points.

"I don't want to give up 90-plus, but I think the numbers in this game are deceiving," Davis told the Journal. "Our numbers were respectable, defensively, but there just were so many possessions in the second half. I thought our second half output was pretty good, defensively."

Curry scored 25 points, Efejuku 23 and Jeff Xavier 21 for the Friars (14-8, 6-4), who dropped their second straight game.

Providence can't blame its offense for the loss, tying a school record with 17 3-pointers. Curry knocked down six while Xavier added five.