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Jeff Eisenberg

Villanova's Scottie Reynolds spoils West Virginia comeback

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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If you pay any attention to mock NBA drafts, you've probably heard that Villanova's Scottie Reynolds lacks the size, athleticism and shot selection to be a premier pro prospect.

Maybe that's true, maybe it isn't, but one thing is certain: There's no better scoring guard than Reynolds in college basketball today.

Held in check in the first half at West Virginia on Monday night, Reynolds erupted after halftime to help Villanova hold off the Mountaineers for an impressive 82-75 victory. Reynolds scored 19 of his 21 points in the final 13 minutes, making sure the Wildcats atoned for their woeful loss at Georgetown two days earlier with exactly the sort of marquee victory they needed to legitimize their top-five ranking.

What was most impressive about Villanova's performance was its resilience in the face of adversity, and Reynolds was consistently at the heart of that.

When backcourt co-star Corey Fisher picked up his fourth foul with 14 minutes left, Reynolds picked up the slack with a pull-up three and a 3-point play to extend the margin to 10.

When a blown goal-tending call and a West Virginia four-point play again gave the Mountaineers momentum a few minutes later, Reynolds again had the 3-point play that pushed the lead back to 11.

And when Reynolds' own turnover led to a fastbreak slam from Devin Ebanks to pull West Virginia within three with eight minutes remaining, the Villanova senior had a steal, a step-back jumper and two free throws during an 8-3 run that all but sealed the win.

About the only positive for West Virginia was that no projectiles, coins or audible profanity flew from its infamous student section the whole night. Heck, the Mountaineers crowd never really had a chance to get in the game the way the Wildcats built a double-figure first-half lead, carving up West Virginia's man-to-man and 1-3-1 zone for 63 percent shooting at halftime.

Before the game, a graphic flashed on the TV screen revealing that this was the season's first matchup of top five teams.

Not good, obviously, but if we had to wait more than three months for it, at least Reynolds made it memorable.

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