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Cunningham leads Villanova to rout of Fordham

Nov 18, 2008 - 6:15 AM VILLANOVA, Pennsylvania (Ticker) -- Dante Cunningham scored 31 points to lead 25th-ranked Villanova to an easy 107-68 victory over Fordham on Monday.

Cunningham added 12 rebounds for the Wildcats (2-0), who had five players score in double figures and led 56-38 at the break.

Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes each scored 17 points, Scottie Reynolds had 11 and Antonio Pena added 10 for Villanova.

"I liked the intensity we played with defensively," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "We maintained that better in the second half and that's what we have to do to be a good team. We need to play 40 minutes of defense. We aren't there yet but we are getting better."

Brenton Butler scored 17 points to lead Fordham (0-2).

Monday's game was the second of eight straight games in Philadelphia for the Wildcats, whose depth was bolstered by the return of forward Shane Clark.

Clark was expected to miss three to six weeks following arthroscopic knee surgery, but instead was back 11 days after the surgery. He came on early in the first half and finished with eight points.

"We had a film session yesterday and Shane came in from a doctor visit and said he was good to go," Wright said. "I was shocked we got him back as early as tonight. Shane was a little out of shape but it was great to get him minutes tonight. He makes such a difference for us. He is so smart and experienced and does all the little things. It was great to have him out there."

"It felt great out there. I was a little out of shape but it felt great on the floor to play with my teammates again," Clark said. "Like Coach said it was minor and I just got it cleaned out. I have been working on rehabbing since the surgery so I could get back fast."

Guard Dwayne Anderson is out indefinitely with a stress fracture in his left foot and center Casiem Drummond missed the game with a foot injury.

Villanova did not miss the injured duo against Fordham thanks to Cunningham's career-high outburst.

He had 19 points at the half and topped his previous best of 21 points with a three-point play early in the second half. Cunningham shot 11-of-17 from the field and was 9-of-12 from the line for the Wildcats, who play five home games and three games at the Palestra before hitting the road to face No. 7 Texas on December 9.

"Honestly I wasn't even paying attention to how many points I had," Cunningham said. "Every time down the court we looked for each other, run down the court hard and someone would throw the ball up. My teammates were finding me in the right spot at the right time."

Villanova has now won five straight meetings with Fordham and holds a 12-8 advantage in the all-time series.