(21) West Virginia 46

(10-1, 0-1 Big East)

Villanova 84

(8-1, 1-0 Big East)

    7:30 PM ET, January 5, 2005

    The Pavilion (Villanova), Villanova, Pennsylvania

    1 2 T
    #21WVU 18 2846
    VILL 38 4684

    Top Performers

    West Virginia: D. Fischer 14 Pts, 2 Reb

    Villanova: A. Ray 26 Pts, 4 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl

    Mountaineers drop first game of season

    VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) -- Villanova coach Jay Wright makes no apologies for padding his team's non-conference schedule with lightweights. Turned out, the first ranked opponent the Wildcats played was the easiest win so far.

    Allan Ray scored 26 points and Mike Nardi added 18 to lead Villanova past West Virginia 84-46 Wednesday night, snapping the Mountaineers' season-opening 10-game winning streak.

    "It kind of gives them a feeling of what we can be," Wright said. "I don't think they're shocked, but I think they're feeling real good about it."

    Curtis Sumpter added 13 points and Randy Foye had 11 for the Wildcats, who won their seventh straight game and had their largest margin of victory ever in a Big East game.

    "This was a big step for our team," Nardi said. "We're really trying to build something here."

    Villanova (8-1) took some knocks for winning games over teams like Albany, Fordham and Monmouth -- all without leaving the Philadelphia area -- but dominated in the Big East opener against West Virginia (No. 23 ESPN/USA Today; No. 21 AP).

    Villanova broke the game open with nifty passing and stifling defense during a 14-0 run late in the first half, including the final eight points scored by Sumpter. Ray and Nardi opened the run with consecutive 3-pointers.

    The Wildcats shot 42 percent from 3-point range and 54 percent from the floor overall.

    "When you make shots like that, you can beat a lot of people," Wright said.

    D'or Fischer scored 14 points and Tyrone Sally added 10 for the Mountaineers, who hadn't scored less than 70 points this season.

    West Virginia looked little like a team averaging 76.9 points and shooting 50 percent from the floor this season. The Mountaineers scored only 18 points and shot 21 percent in the first half.

    West Virginia also averaged only 9.6 turnovers a game, but had 10 in the first half, including three on its first three possessions.

    The Wildcats mixed up their defense quite a bit in the first half, seemingly switching from man to zone on alternate possessions. The 46 points were the fewest ever allowed by Villanova in a conference game, breaking the mark of 48 allowed against Pittsburgh in 1983.

    "Our pressure really bothered them," Ray said. "They couldn't do any up-and-down running."

    Wins over then-No. 17 North Carolina State and No. 20 George Washington propelled West Virginia into its first appearance in The Associated Press' Top 25 since March 1998, which was the last year the Mountaineers reached the NCAA Tournament.

    "We're certainly not a juggernaut of a 10-0 team and we proved that today," coach John Beilein said.

    The Mountaineers lost point guard J.D. Collins to an ankle injury with 7:25 left in the first half and trailing by nine. West Virginia looked lost once he left, never able to do much of anything offensively.

    The Mountaineers were off to their best start since winning their first 10 games of the 1959-60 season when Jerry West played for them. The 1957-58 team started 14-0.

    Villanova had plenty of skeptics with a soft schedule. It played six games at home and two others at the nearby Palestra. Bigger tests await the Wildcats this month, including games at Notre Dame and Providence and their final non-conference against No. 2 Kansas in Philadelphia.

    Villanova's last win against a ranked team came against No. 20 Providence in last year's Big East tournament.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 46 84
    FG Made-Attempted 15-55 (.273) 30-56 (.536)
    3P Made-Attempted 6-29 (.207) 10-24 (.417)
    FT Made-Attempted 10-12 (.833) 14-22 (.636)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 16 (0/0) 15 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 1 41

    2004-05 Season

    » Jan 5, 2005 @VILL 84, WVU 46Recap
    Mar 11, 2005 WVU 78, @VILL 76Recap