When Scottie Reynolds decided to withdraw his name from the NBA draft last June, Villanova coach Jay Wright said the former Big East freshman of the year was focused on becoming a great senior leader. Reynolds has done that so far, but leading the Wildcats to their first victory over Georgetown since 2007 would make returning for a final collegiate season that much more special.
Reynolds and fourth-ranked Villanova look to snap a five-game slide in this matchup Sunday when they face the 11th-ranked Hoyas at Wachovia Center.
After leading the Wildcats to their first Final Four appearance since they upset the Hoyas in the 1985 national title game, Reynolds passed up the chance at the NBA last summer to complete his college eligibility.
“I’m blessed to be in the situation I am in,” Reynolds said. “I’m happy to be back at Villanova.”
And the Wildcats (15-1, 4-0 Big East) are thrilled he decided to return. Reynolds scored 30 of his season-high 36 points in the second half, including his team’s last 16 points in the final 5:48 on Monday when Villanova rallied from a 17-point first-half deficit to win 92-84 at Louisville. The Wildcats are seeking their first 5-0 conference start since 2002-03.
“We probably got more out of (Reynolds) than we deserved,” said Wright, whose team is off to its best start since it opened 17-1 in 1963-64. “He’s done this stuff before. The kid is great.”
Reynolds, who is hitting a career-high 50.3 percent from the field this season, is averaging 22.3 points and shooting 65.6 percent during the Wildcats’ six-game winning streak. He is ninth on the team’s all-time scoring list with 1,921 points.
Junior guard Corey Fisher (12.8), forward Antonio Pena (11.5) and sophomore Taylor King (10.8) are also averaging in double figures for the Wildcats, who are among the nation’s top scoring teams at 84.8 points per game.
Villanova is averaging 89.3 points and shooting 52.4 percent since its lone loss at Temple on Dec. 13, but the Wildcats’ high-octane offense could be tested against Georgetown’s stingy defense.
The Hoyas (13-2, 4-1), winners of two in a row, are holding teams to 38.9 percent shooting and 59.6 points per game - second in the Big East. In the teams’ only meeting last season, Georgetown limited the Wildcats to 33.3 percent from the field and a season-low 15 field goals in a 56-54 victory at Wachovia Center on Feb. 28.
Reynolds, who scored 12 points on 2-of-10 shooting in that matchup, is averaging 15.7 points in six career games versus Georgetown. He had a team-high 16 in the Wildcats’ last victory in this matchup - 56-52 in the nation’s capital on Jan. 8, 2007.
In addition to their stifling defense, the Hoyas are efficient offensively— they are among the nation’s best from the field at 49.9 percent. Georgetown shot 68.2 percent in Thursday’s 85-73 victory over Seton Hall, a school record for shooting versus a Big East opponent.
Villanova could be a faced with a tough defensive matchup in Georgetown junior guard Austin Freeman, who is averaging 20.2 points and hitting 57.1 percent from 3-point range in Big East play.
Sophomore guard Jason Clark, who is averaging 10.5 points, scored a career-high 20 on Thursday while hitting all four of his 3-point attempts.
Georgetown leads the all-time series with Villanova 39-27.