Nardi scored a season-high 23 points and Curtis Sumpter added 14
as the Wildcats beat Oklahoma 67-51 Wednesday night to end the
Sooners' NCAA-best 49-game homecourt winning streak against
"Mike did a good job. He didn't really force anything on me. He
just told me to go out and play the way we play," said Reynolds,
who signed with Oklahoma before instead deciding to attend
Villanova. "He was on fire today."
Nardi hit eight of his first 10 shots to propel the Wildcats
(7-1) to a double-digit lead, and the Sooners (4-3) were unable to
mount a comeback despite holding Villanova scoreless for more than
five minutes in the second half.
Oklahoma's last loss to a nonconference opponent at the Lloyd
Noble Center came against No. 4 Cincinnati on Dec. 22, 1999. Duke,
which beat Holy Cross 57-45 on Wednesday night, now has the longest
such streak at 47 games.
"We just didn't have the energy and the passion that I want our
basketball team to have, and that was probably what's most
disappointing about this game," first-year Oklahoma coach Jeff
Capel instead saw those qualities in Nardi, who ended up one
point shy of matching the highest point total of his career.
"Coming into this game I thought Sumpter was their best player
but I thought Nardi was the heart of their team, and we saw it
tonight," Capel said. "I think they go as Nardi goes. He gives
them energy and those other guys feed off of him. He plays with
passion and plays with fire."
In a rematch of teams that met last season in the top 5, Nardi
sparked a 15-2 run midway through the first half to push the
Wildcats ahead for good. Nardi connected on a 3-pointer from the
top of the key to start the spurt and then had assists on
3-pointers by Shane Clark and Sumpter. Villanova led 28-16 after
back-to-back layups by Sumpter and Reynolds and a left-handed hook
shot by Nardi.
The Wildcats led 36-25 at halftime after forcing 15 Oklahoma
turnovers, then pushed the lead to 55-40 after Dante Cunningham
dunked a miss by Reynolds.
After that, Villanova went more than five minutes without a
point but Oklahoma was equally cold. The Sooners scored only four
points in the same span, and Sumpter ended the drought with
back-to-back 3-pointers to stretch the lead to 61-44 with under
five minutes to play.
"When we were getting stops, we just couldn't score. That
hurt," said guard Tony Crocker, who scored a career-high 19 points
to lead the Sooners. Longar Longar added 12 points, and the Sooners
committed a season-worst 24 turnovers.
Reynolds, a McDonald's All-American point guard, had 10 points
against the team he ditched after Capel was hired to replace Kelvin
Sampson as the Sooners' coach.
After Capel was hired in April, Reynolds' father sent a note to
Oklahoma seeking a "complete, unconditional release" from his
letter of intent.
"When Scott committed to come to OU he was coming to play for
Coach Sampson and his assistant coaches," Rick Reynolds wrote.
"They are no longer at OU. This changes everything."
Reynolds met with Capel but instead wound up at Villanova, where
he has started the Wildcats' first eight games and averaged 7.7
points entering Wednesday night.
He was booed during introductions and frequently when he brought
the ball upcourt. Fans cheered when Reynolds was fouled by Taylor
Griffin and sent sprawling to the floor on the Wildcats' first
"I thought it was kind of cool," Reynolds said. "I guess that
shows how much they care about their basketball."
The Wildcats beat Oklahoma 85-74 in Philadelphia last year when
both teams were ranked in the top 5 -- Villanova at No. 4, Oklahoma
at No. 5.