Game ended at about 12:02 am eastern time. Villanova Wildcats defeat UCLA Bruins 82-70. Some notes on the game are below.
- Villanova really came out of the gates strong tonight, opening up a quick 8-0 lead, prompting UCLA coach Ben Howland to call a timeout 2 minutes into the game.
- The Bruins climbed back into the contest rather quickly though, hitting some deep three balls, and the Wildcats advantage remained in the 5-7 range for much of the opening stanza.
- A surge late in the first half led by the speedy guards Corey Fisher and Maalik Wayns provided for some nice momentum heading into the locker room.
- Halftime score: Villanova 44 UCLA 29
More after the jump...
- As Jay Wright said at halftime, "UCLA is going to come back," and they certainly started to right from the get go in the second half. That 15 point halftime lead for the Cats dissipated to 8 by the first media timeout.
- The game turned into a block party for much of the final 20 minutes, as each team must've had 5-7 blocks.
- The Bruins never really went away but they never really threatened to win the game either, as the closest they got was 5 at one point. Although UCLA hung around, they just could not stop the quickness of Wayns and Fisher; both were pushing the tempo and could penetrate at will, but the most important thing they were doing was getting to the foul line and setting up their teammates. Fish had 26 points but 14 of those came from the charity stripe.
- The Wildcats probably shot around 20-25% in the second half and with 7 minutes left, they had only hit 4 field goals in the half. Nonetheless, it was nice to see Nova still playing tough, physical defense even when the shots weren't falling. That can be the staple of a good team.
- Villanova put the nail in the coffin with about 4 minutes left, when Wayns drilled a 3 from the corner to extend the lead to 10.
- Stats-wise, Reeves Nelson was the star for the Bruins with 10 points and 14 rebounds, although I thought Villanova frustrated him a decent amount. For the good guys, Fisher had 26 points and 4 dimes, Maalik notched 19 points, Corey Stokes put up 16, and Mouphtaou Yarou had an impressive double-double with 13 points and 15 boards. Villanova only had 6 turnovers as a team, which is awesome.
- Three other quick thoughts-As you may know, I don't like Doris Burke announcing games; I think UCLA will be much better than their debacle of a season last year, so should be a solid win on the resume come tourney time; Jay Wright sat on the bench the whole game yet again and the only reason I can come up with is that he is trying to get the team to rely less on him and more on each other.