Villanova pulls away to beat Hartford
Villanova, PA (Sports Network) - Scottie Reynolds scored 21 points and dished out six assists to lead 23rd-ranked Villanova past Hartford, 103-75, at The Pavilion.
Dante Cunningham chipped in with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Three other Wildcats (8-1) recorded double-figure scoring efforts, Corey Fisher with 18, Shane Clark with 16 and Malcolm Grant with 12.
Joe Zeglinski was the leading scorer for the Hawks (5-7), tallying 20 points. Warren McClendon added 19 points and eight rebounds and Michael Turner contributed 14 points and six boards in a losing effort.
The Hawks fought the Wildcats tough throughout the majority of the first half. Zeglinski's three-pointer moved the Hawks to a 31-28 lead with 7:38 left in the half. However, Villanova responded with the next 12 points to go ahead for good. Corey Stokes capped the burst with a three-pointer.
"We have been saying all year that if you have a bad game you have to forget it and come back the next day," Reynolds said. "Even if you have a bad half then you have to come back the next half, so I try to take that philosophy possession by possession. Our defense needs to get better as we go on but we will keep working on it and keep improving."
Hartford managed to bounce back and eventually ended up trailing 44-41 at the break.
Hartford played with that same gritty style of play for much of the second half as well. Only three points, 66-63, separated the two teams with 9:57 left. However, Corey Fisher hit a three-pointer for Villanova that triggered a 12-0 run, culminated by a free throw from Reynolds with 7:57 remaining.
"They were just too much for us," Hartford coach Dan Leibovitz said. "They came out and really closed it up defensively in the second half. I thought we played 28 very good minutes and their depth and our lack of depth became the difference. We ran out of gas but all the credit goes to Villanova. We can only learn from this and by playing great teams."
Villanova was never threatened the rest of the game.
This game was the first meeting between the two schools...Leibovitz has faced Villanova many times as an assistant coach under John Chaney at Temple...The Wildcats are now 192-54 in 22 seasons at The Pavilion...Villanova shot 56.3 percent from the field, compared to 41.1 percent for the Hawks.
12/15 01:18:12 ET