Foye scores 32 as No. 4 Villanova rallies

VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) -- It was nothing new for Randy Foye and his
fellow guards to come up big for Villanova. It has been, however,
rare to see oft-injured senior forward Jason Fraser make an impact
for the Wildcats.

Foye had a career-high 32 points and Fraser had 10 points in 26
minutes on Saturday and the fourth-ranked Wildcats beat No. 5
Oklahoma 85-74 in the season's first matchup of teams ranked in the
top five.

Villanova (4-0) had to listen all week to people wondering if
the Wildcats' small lineup because of a knee injury to forward
Curtis Sumpter could handle a good frontcourt like Oklahoma's.

Fraser answered with a solid performance and the four guards
made a statement with defensive pressure that didn't allow the
Sooners (4-1) to have any kind of perimeter game in the second half
when Villanova pulled away.

"I know our guys believed we could beat them and even if we
lost this game they would believe it," Villanova coach Jay Wright
said. "Everyone talks about our guards, but in our locker room we
know what our forwards can do."

Like Fraser, the high school All-America whose career has been
slowed by seven surgeries, five on his knees and two on his hands.
He has been limited to 50 starts over his first three seasons.

"We're always prepared not to have him and it's been that way
for four years," Wright said. "We're happy for him personally. He
isn't in pain and he played 26 minutes that way."

Fraser said he felt comfortable in a game against a good

"I felt like myself," he said.

Fraser, who had a total of 13 points in the first three games
this season, was asked how long it had been since he felt that way.

"Four years," he said, smiling. "It's the best I'm feeling in
a long time."

Allan Ray added 21 points for the Wildcats, while Kyle Lowry had

Taj Gray had 22 points for Oklahoma and fellow forward Kevin
Bookout added 15. They combined for 27 of Oklahoma's 39 points in
the second half as the Sooners guards were unable to get off shots
let alone make them. Terrell Everett had 11 points and nine assists
for the Sooners.

"Collectively, they may be the best group of guards we've
played against," Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson said. "My hat's
off to Fraser for what that kid's been through. Their bigs are
functional and they're guards are dynamite."

Oklahoma had a 21-10 rebound advantage in the first half, which
ended tied at 35, but Villanova had a 10-8 advantage in the second

"If you told me before the game we would have a 29-20 rebound
advantage and shoot 54 percent (28-for-52), I thought we would have
won," Sampson said. "It felt like they shot 105 percent."

The Wildcats did shoot 57 percent (28-for-49) and they forced 17
turnovers, getting 27 points off them.

"The 17 turnovers did create some easy points for us," Wright

Gray scored on a long layup with 14:45 to play and tied the game
at 50.

That's when the Wildcats went on a 16-5 run fueled by the
backcourt pressure and perimeter defense. Foye had six points in
the run, and Fraser added four. Fraser had eight points in a
5½-minute stretch, the last of the points on a dunk with 6:12 to go
that made it 74-63.

Austin Johnson hit a 3-pointer with 1:25 left to bring the
Sooners within 79-74, but Foye made his second straight driving
basket after running time off the clock to make it a seven-point
game with 48 seconds to go.

Foye, whose previous best was 28 points in last season's NCAA
tournament loss to North Carolina, was 14-for-21 from the field,
including 3-for-8 on 3s.

"I would never have known he had 32 points," Wright said of
Foye. "He does so much for us. He's a great leader. I think he's
one of the best players in the country."

Foye said maybe the matchup problem belongs to the opponent
rather than the Wildcats.

"We practice getting our own shots," he said. "I think it's
pretty tough to defend us."

Sampson said he had seen Villanova enough to know how good the
guards were.

"The next game it may be Ray getting 25 and Foye 10," he said.

Villanova wrapped it up with four free throws with 20 seconds
left, two on a technical foul against Sampson.

The game was played before a sellout crowd of 6,500 at the
on-campus Pavilion. Villanova was 23-for-25 from the free throw

"I'm proud of my guys for hanging in there," Sampson said. "I
leave here encouraged, playing in this environment, with that group
of guards."

It was the second game between the schools. Oklahoma won 78-59
in the regional final on the way to the 1988 Final Four.