Clark leads Villanova to 72-59 win over South Florida
VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP)—Shane Clark had 15 points and seven rebounds to lead Villanova to a 72-59 victory over South Florida on Wednesday night.
Clark, a 6-foot-7 junior forward, shot 7-for-11 for the Wildcats (18-11, 8-9 Big East), who snapped a two-game losing streak. They won for the 15th straight time at The Pavilion, a mark that spans two seasons.
Antonio Pena scored eight of his 10 points in a strong second half, while Scottie Reynolds added nine points and Dwayne Anderson chipped in with 10 rebounds and seven points.
Standout freshman guard Dominique Jones led the way for South Florida (12-18, 3-14) with 29 points. Sophomore Chris Howard finished with nine points.
The Bulls were back to their losing ways on the road. South Florida was coming off its first road victory in three seasons of conference play, a win at Rutgers on Saturday.
But the excitement didn’t carry over for the Bulls, who shot 17-for-54 in the game, including 4-for-23 from 3-point range.
South Florida cut into Villanova’s 14-point halftime lead early in the second half, getting as close as seven points on a runner by Jones with just over 11 minutes remaining.
But the Wildcats regrouped behind the play of Clark, who followed a 3-pointer with a short jumper and pushed Nova’s advantage back to 13 points with 6:37 left.
After a South Florida basket, Corey Stokes completed a three-point play and Antonio Pena followed with a baseline drive for a lay-in. The Bulls were whistled for an intentional foul, and Pena made one of two free throws to push the lead to 17 points with 5:50 left.
Pena sandwiched a pair of free throws and a three-point play around a lay-in by Corey Fisher to extend Villanova’s lead to 23 points with approximately four minutes left.
The first half was all Villanova, as the Bulls struggled to find their shooting touch and seldom had more than one shot per trip down the court.
South Florida shot 5-for-25 from the field, 2-for-12 from 3-point range and 9-for-16 from the line in the first half and trailed by 14 points, 35-21, at the break.
Villanova had plenty of success inside, outscoring the Bulls 20-6 in the paint in the first period.
Clark led the way with eight points, including a rim-rattling slam of a miss by Malcolm Grant in the final minutes that gave the Wildcats their biggest lead of the half at 17 points.
Villanova’s close-range scoring helped mask a 1-for-10 effort from beyond the arc in the first half.
Jones had 10 first-half points for USF.
USF freshman guard Dominique Jones was named the Big East Rookie of the Week for March 3 for his 31-point performance in a loss to Seton Hall and a 17-point outing, including the winning basket, in the Bulls first conference road win in three seasons last Saturday at Rutgers.