Chris Fujimoto begins the blogging:
0:00-The lineups are being announced. Villanova starts with its normal lineup of Scottie, Reggie, Shane, Dwayne, and Dante. This lineup has a lot of size especially at the guard spots, the question is if American has ever seen defensive pressure like they’re going to see tonight. Garrison Carr is announced and gets a warm reception by the American fans. He is the key to American’s success tonight. All the months of blood, sweat and tears for the ‘Cats comes down to this: one game, 40 minutes, a battle..no, a war…its time to go. The game starts off with an Anderson 3. The defensive pressure of American swarms to the balls, but leaves a man open. a Reynolds steal and an easy Dante layup seems to be a foreshadowing for the entire game.
18:42-American’s first basket…on a goaltending call against Dante. Reggie picks up an early foul on a loose ball and it appears that the ‘Cats are running their normal man to man defense.
17:40-Dwayne drains another 3 and American’s Gilmore comes back and drains another one. 8-6 early advantage to Villanova. Carr fouls Cunningham, in a strange matchup of 5-11 vs. 6-8.
16:00-American sinks another 3 and it seems that the usual Villanova spotty perimeter defense is making another appearance. Another American 3 sends red flags, but Villanova’s inside game seems to be easily beating the American defenders inside.
apparently I was just spotted on TV! niiiiiice. haha.
12:15-Gilmore seems to be giving problems for Villanova. The problem I see is that you either have Nova giving up uncontested 3’s or you have Fisher or Reynolds guarding the much taller Gilmore on those shots. Stokes drains a 3 but American has definitely made sure they will be a force to be reckoned with in this game.
10:15-Fish has a nice steal and does a little shake n bake for a layup. American then goes down the court and hits another 3. Dante goes in for a hook shot. The ‘Cats need to have better perimeter defense, they can’t keep trading 2’s for 3’s. American up 3 27-24 with 8:48 left. Carr is torching ‘Nova right now.
7:27 – Villanova is down 3 due to Carr’s hot hand, but he can’t keep it up all game. I’ve seen this before with other teams against Villanova. Never do they continue to shoot at such a high level – Carr must be near 100% shooting from beyond the arc. Carr is a 5-11 guard and quite muscular. It is not like Villanova has been giving him open looks – he has had a hand in his face each time, at least to some extent. Eventually he will miss. His insanely high shooting percentage right now has to be partly due to some luck. On the last Eagles possession Villanova blocked two shots in the paint, so they are starting to realize, hopefully, how to stop the smaller Eagle’s offesnive attack.
6:40 – Jay is quite angry at the referees who are missing foul calls on American left and right and have called fouls and travels on Villanova that the team is not used to having be called fouls on.
5:33 – Game is moving along very quickly. Villanova has very notably stepped up their aggressiveness on defense. But Carr just made another 3, after an offensive rebound by American, putting the Eagles up 30 – 26. Timeout Villanova.
4:50 – Carr has 12 points. Anderson for Villanova has 11 points, and Dante has 10. Stokes and Fisher have 3 and 2 points respectively, but those two and Reynolds must get it going. So far it seems to be an offensive game, but the score is only 32-26 with 3:54 left. Still, offense is not the primary problem. Really, if Villanova’s defense and rebounding can step it up against the smaller team, they would be in a good position to retake the lead.
3:30 – Wide open 3-pointer by Reggie Redding!! 32-29. Villanova fans are making some noise and beginning to dominate the Wachovia Center. All it takes is some scoring by Villanova to make their fans loud. The Villanova cheers come from all over the arena, while the American cheers come only from one section. A nice “Defense” chant is being lead behind where we are sitting by four very young girls – probably future Villanova students.
1:30 – Score: 38 – 31 Villanova. Villanova making turnovers on offense and apparently the “Defense” cheers did not work well enough. It is real loud for American after another 3 pointer by American before the buzzer. 41 – 31 going into the half…10 point lead…more to come after…sigh…I hope the next half our posts are more positive.
Chris Fujimoto is back on it
Halftime- The stat taht really jumps out at me is the 11 turnovers by the Wildcats in the first half. We’re shooting really well, but those turnovers along with 24 points coming off of American 3’s, the Eagles might be poised for the upset of the tournament early. I can only hope that Villanova gets it’s act together and can regain the league in the second half.
Our posts might be al ittle slow in 4 minutes. I have registration. Last post before we go dead..Villanova looked..how do I put it..determined when they came out of the locker room. We will see if they have the willpower to pull this one off.
16:20-So while we were away Villanova went on a little run to pull within 9, the Villanova defense is swarming and momentum is shifting back slowly but surely. The Wachovia Center is coming alive, the “Lets go Nova” chants are filling the arena. The Wildcats need to just chip away at the lead slowly but surely, there is plenty of time.
15:00-This place is ALIVE! the fans are on their feet as the ‘Cats pull within six. Carr drains a 3 to bring alive the American crowd and the Eagles pull the lead to 9, the six fouls already for the Eagles might be worrying for American.
13:10-CARR! this game is all Carr all the time. They gotta get 1, or maybe even 2 bodies on Carr to stop him.
11:48-Timeout Eagles. The one thing that the Wildcats staff is screaming at the players during the game is “FIVE, FIVE!” they want the players to keep their eyes and bodies on Carr at all times. He is too dangerous to leave wide open and uncovered.
Crawford takes over the blogging:
10:30 – American is finally starting to miss shots from beyond the arc. Villanova just missed an easy offensive rebound that infuriated Jay Wright. Good defense by Villanova on the other end results in a shot clock violation by the Eagles.
9:30 – Dunk by Dwayne!!! of a missed shot my Scottie. 55 – 49 and Corey Fisher has two shots coming from the free throw line. He makes them both and Villanova has pulled to within 4. Carr just missed a 3 – pointer pretty wide open.
8:34 – Carr is on Fisher, Fisher is running around a lot and trying to tire Carr out. It got really loud in here because of Villanova fans. Villanova has just pulled to within 3 on 1/2 FT shooting. 55 – 52.
8:05 – 4 Fouls on Carr! This is key for Villanova. Carr does not seem used to guarding anyone as quick as Corey Fisher. Carr has now been taken out of the game, for the time being. Nova is within 2 at 55 – 53. Other than Mercer, who is busy running the point and Gilmore, the center, American has no true 3 point shooters on the floor right now, making Villanova’s job on defense that much easier.
7:35 – Villanova ball, Reynolds drives in for 2 points. Tie Game!!!! 55 – 55. What a run by Villanova. Foul on Reynolds on the other end. Foul on Fisher. Travel on Mercer, Villanova ball. This crowd is really into it, except for the VCU and UCLA sections of the crowd eagerly awaiting the next game.
6:20 – 3 pointer by Dwayne. 2 pointer by Cunningham. Much improved play by Villanova. 60 – 55. American is missing baskets on the other end and is hurt offensively.
5:07 – Large outburst on a turnover by Coach Wright. Expletives were yelled.
4:57 – Foul on American player Frank Borden, fouling Corey Fisher rather viciously, although unintentional while Fisher was jumping for the rebound. Borden needed to be restrained by the referee, and a referee just told Jay Wright to calm down. Fisher makes both free throws. 62 – 55.
4:30 – Carr is back in the game and immediately makes a 2 point shot. Gilmore picks up his 4th foul. American is over the limit and with two of its most valuable players in foul trouble with 4 apiece, American seems to be in trouble. Score: 64 – 57 Villanova. Shane made his two free throws.
3:30 – Reggie is putting back in for defense after Stokes tried his hand at guarding Carr and Carr threw the ball up high while under the basket for an improbable two pointer. Not really Stokes’ fault; nevertheless, Reggie will be back in for defense. Score is 66 – 61 with 2:45 left.
2:30 – Dante with a nice lay in for 2. American has trouble stopping him down low. Villanova slows down the game on offense. Smart play by Nova. Good rebound by Reggie. Reynolds gets fouled and makes both free throws. Nova is up 9 with a minute and a half left. Dante is shooting two. Dante makes both. Dunk by Dwayne Anderson!! AU crowd has been mostly silenced, but Villanova’s crowd isn’t as loud anymore but that is only because a Villanova victory is only looking more and more likely with the Wildcats leading by 11 with 50 seconds left.
00:30 – Dwayne drains both his free throws. Villanova leads by 13 with half a minute left. Villanova trailed by 14 about one minute into the second half. What a turnaround. American simply found it impossible to keep up with Villanova without the many 3 pointers of Carr and Mercer. 78 – 65 with 26 seconds left and for some reason, American’s crowd, band and cheerleaders are still quite loud and hopeful. With all 5 of American’s starters graduating this upcoming May, it looks like the end of the line for many of their talented athletes.
Final Score: 80 – 67. Villanova Wildcats defeat the American Eagles. Villanova survives to play on Saturday, same location against the winner of the upcoming game: UCLA vs. VCU.