PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Villanova had the best freshman on the court Saturday and did quite a job containing one of the country’s best first-year players.
Scottie Reynolds scored 26 points in his second straight outstanding game and the Wildcats held Texas freshman Kevin Durant to just 12 in their 76-69 victory over the 21st-ranked Longhorns.
“That was a great defensive effort,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “We’re getting better and better. This is going to help us especially defensively.”
Reynolds, who set his career high with 27 points in the Wildcats’ win over No. 20 Notre Dame on Wednesday, was 12-for-13 from the free-throw line, including making five of six over the final 43 seconds after the Longhorns closed a 13-point deficit to two.
“From looking at film we’ve been making little mistakes that we wanted to cut down,” Reynolds said. “We know we can be a good basketball team.”
The Wildcats (13-5) played without leading scorer and rebounder Curtis Sumpter, who was kicked in the leg in the Notre Dame game and suffered a bruise just below his knee.
Shane Clark started in Sumpter’s place and had 11 points and 12 rebounds in addition to being one of the several Wildcats who were assigned to cover Durant.
“It didn’t bother us,” he said of Sumpter’s absence. “We’re always ready to step up. I was happy to do what I could for the team.”
Durant came in averaging 34.0 points over the last four games and Villanova used a number of players, including the 6-foot-2 Reynolds who was giving up 7 inches, in holding him under 20 points for just the third time this season. Durant finished 4-for-15 from the field and missed all six of his shots in the second half.
“We wanted to keep our length on him and be quick so we could contain him when he out it on the floor,” said Dante Cunningham, one of the players assigned to Durant and who knew him from his AAU days.
Freshman D.J. Augustin matched his career high with 25 points for the Longhorns (13-5), who lost 105-103 in triple overtime to No. 12 Oklahoma State on Monday.
Reynolds’ drive with 5:47 to play gave Villanova a 65-52 lead and it was the Wildcats’ last field goal.
Augustin had six points in the 14-3 run that got the Longhorns within 68-66 on a 3-pointer by A.J. Abrams with 2:21 left.
Led by Reynolds, the Wildcats went 8-for-10 from the line the rest of the way as Texas missed its next six shots, including three by Durant, and what had become suddenly nervous crowd of 18,742 at the Wachovia Center was able to celebrate a second straight win over a ranked team.
Durant was the player, let alone the freshman, who drew all the pregame attention, and with the 6-7 Sumpter, who averages 18.9 points and 6.8 rebounds, out as a game-time decision, Villanova had to find a way to control him.
As Villanova built its lead in the second half, Durant had just two shots during the first 18 minutes.
Durant said it was the best defense he had seen in his young career.
“Villanova played great team defense. It was a whole team effort,” he said. “They had two guys in my face when I got the ball and they trapped well.”
Texas coach Rick Barnes said Villanova’s physical style affected Durant, who came into the game shooting 49 percent from the field, and the Longhorns in general.
“Normally we don’t stand around,” Barnes said. “K.D. was allowing himself to be pushed around.
“We had chances but we couldn’t make important shots.”
Villanova went inside for its offense in the first half, but the Wildcats went outside in the second, hitting eight 3-pointers in building the lead.
The only inside points came from Cunningham, who finished with 16, three off the career high he had against Notre Dame. His baseline drive for a dunk over Durant made it 46-37, and his reverse layup with 12:31 to go gave the Wildcats’ their first double-digit lead at 48-37.
“It was another great pass from (Mike) Nardi. I just finished it,” Cunningham said of the dunk that had the crowd roaring.
Reynolds was asked what he thought of Cunningham’s slam.
“Do it again,” he said.
Abrams had 19 points for Texas, which was held below 76 points for just the second time this season.
Villanova finished with a 45-36 rebound advantage.
“I really like Villanova,” Barnes said. “They have an aggressive identity. They rebound the ball despite not a lot of size and they have an attitude.”
It was the first game Texas played in Philadelphia since a 55-54 victory over Saint Joseph’s on Dec. 18, 1948.