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Reynolds, late first-half run propels Villanova over Marquette

Feb 11, 2009 - 6:01 AM VILLANOVA, Pennsylvania (Ticker) -- Marquette started out as the hot team in the nation's top conference, but Villanova has overtaken it.

Scottie Reynolds scored 27 points as No. 13 Villanova continued its run through the Big East on Tuesday, knocking off 12th-ranked Marquette, 102-84.

Corey Fisher had 21 points and Shane Clark added 16 and seven rebounds for the Wildcats (20-4, 8-3 Big East), who claimed their sixth straight victory with a big offensive effort.

"I love it; I think everybody on the team likes it," Reynolds told the Philadelphia Inquirer of his team's point total. "But the only way you can do it is getting stops and getting out in the open floor. We're not one of those teams that just goes up and down. We take pride in trying to get stops."

Villanova also captured its 26th straight game at the Pavilion, including 11 consecutive over Big East foes.

Marquette had ruled the Big East earlier this season, winning its first nine league games including a 79-72 victory over Villanova on January 1.

The Golden Eagles held an eight-point lead with over eight minutes left in the opening half when the Wildcats caught fire, going into the break on a 23-10 run to open up a 50-45 advantage, with Corey Stokes sinking a 3-pointer from the right corner to beat the halftime buzzer. Fisher had nine points during the burst.

Villanova remained in control thereafter, opening up a 78-64 cushion with 9:41 to play before dealing with a handful of runs by the always dangerous Marquette (20-4, 9-2).

"Honestly, we never talk about points, or how many points we're going to hold somebody to," Villanova coach Jay Wright told the Inquirer. "It's more the teams that we've played. They can all go up and down. There are many possessions in those games.

"Sometimes you've just got to outscore people. We don't like that, but that was the only way to do it tonight."

The Golden Eagles pulled within 79-70 when Jerel McNeal split two free throws with 7:37 remaining. Yet, Clark followed with a jumper and Reynolds added a layup to make it a 13-point game.

McNeal then sandwiched a pair of 3-pointers around a free throw by Reynolds, cutting Marquette's deficit to 84-76 with 6:10 left.

The second basket from the arc proved to be a bittersweet one for the senior guard, who became the the all-time leading in scoring for the Golden Eagles with 1,776, surpassing George Thompson's total of 1,773 from 1966-69.

McNeal finished with 23 points, his eighth straight game with 20-plus points.

However, McNeal finished 8-of-20 from the field and 3-of-9 on 3-pointers. He also handed out seven assists and grabbed four rebounds.

Although Marquette had closed within eight behind McNeal, Villanova responded with an 8-2 run to put the contest all but away. Reynolds capped the run with one of his five 3-pointers, making it 92-78 with 4:32 to play.

Reynolds finished 10-of-17 from the field and 5-of-11 from the arc in going over 25 points for the third time this season.

Dante Cunningham had 15 points and Dwayne Anderson chipped in 10 for the Wildcats, who shot 59 percent (37-of-63) from the field and 13-of-24 on 3-pointers.

Villanova also went 18-of-25 (72 percent) in the second half, including 6-of-8 from the arc, in scoring 100 points in consecutive games for the third time in school history.

"If your opponent shoots 72 percent in the second half, you can't win on the road, you can't win in the Big East, you can't even win in the park," Marquette coach Buzz Williams told the newspaper.

The Wildcats also surpassed 90 points in the 94-91 victory at Providence last Wednesday. Prior to this three-game stretch, they had been averaging 74 points through their first 21 contests.

Lazar Hayward chipped in 22 points and nine rebounds for Marquette, which dropped its second straight contest after having a 12-game winning streak snapped at South Florida on Friday.