Scores

Final

Fordham 68

(0-2, 0-1 away)

(23) Villanova 107

(2-0, 2-0 home)

    7:30 PM ET, November 17, 2008

    The Pavilion, Villanova, Pennsylvania

    1 2 T
    FOR 38 3068
    #23VILL 56 51107

    Top Performers

    Fordham: B. Butler 17 Pts, 4 Reb, 4 Ast

    Villanova: D. Cunningham 31 Pts, 11 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Villanova wins 17th straight home game behind Cunningham's career-high 31

    Associated Press

    VILLANOVA, Pa. -- Dante Cunningham needed to get loud to really get noticed.

    Villanova coach Jay Wright wants Cunningham to become more of a consistent scorer this season and add another threat to the Wildcats' guard-oriented offense. The first step for the senior forward was demanding the ball.

    Cunningham asked for it and delivered the best all-around game of his career.

    Fast Facts

    • Villanova topped 100 points for the first time since last December against Hartford.

    • The Wildcats have won 17 straight home games, the second-longest streak at the Pavilion (23 straight is the record).

    • Under Jay Wright, Villanova is 23-7 in games played in the month of November.

    • Since defeating Georgetown in 1978, Fordham has lost 45 consecutive games vs. ranked opponents.

    -- ESPN research

    "He can score, he can really score," Wright said.

    Cunningham proved that Monday night.

    He had a career-high 31 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Corey Stokes and Corey Fisher each scored 17 points to lead No. 23 Villanova past Fordham 107-68.

    Cunningham scored 19 points in the first half, nearly matching his previous best of 21, to help the Wildcats (2-0) pull away early. The 6-foot-8 senior converted a three-point play in the opening minute of the second half to give him 22 points, and did it again about a minute later to stretch the lead to 62-40 and all but wrap up Villanova's 17th straight win at home.

    Cunningham said he decided to take Wright's advice and let the Wildcats know he was a primary option.

    "I'm starting to get more and more comfortable with it," he said.

    Cunningham finished 11-of-17 from the field and 9-for-12 from the line. He was two rebounds shy of matching his career best.

    "I think I've just been working a lot more on understanding where the shots are coming from on the court," he said. "I was just comfortable out there."

    The Wildcats got a nice surprise when forward Shane Clark returned only 11 days after surgery on his right knee. Clark, who averaged 7.1 points and 4.3 points in 32 games last season, was expected to miss 3-to-6 weeks. Instead, he checked in 6 1/2 minutes into the game and scored the first time he touched the ball for a 17-11 lead.

    The Wildcats worked the ball inside again two possessions later and Clark, playing with a brace on his right knee, made it 2-for-2 with another easy basket. Clark was cleared to practice over the weekend

    "He said he was good, he looked good," Wright said. "He's so smart and experienced. He does all the little things. It was great to have him out there."

    Villanova played without 6-10 center Casiem Drummond (foot) and swingman Dwayne Anderson missed his second straight game (foot).

    Wright expected Anderson to miss a few weeks, while Drummond could return for Wednesday's game against Niagara.

    The Wildcats could afford to rest them for this one. Or the rest of the nonconference season. Hard to see over the next couple of weeks where an absent player or two will make much of a difference with this kind of soft schedule.

    The Wildcats played their second of eight straight games in the Philadelphia area and none expect to seriously test the Wildcats. Niagara and Monmouth are on the schedule this week, and the Wildcats' first stiff test comes against Texas (No. 8 ESPN/USA Today, No. 7 AP) at the Jimmy V Classic on Dec. 9 at Madison Square Garden.

    "As long as everybody else stays healthy, this is good for us," Wright said.

    Fordham (0-2) shot the 3-pointer early and often to try and pull the upset. The plan might have worked if the Rams could have made a few. Showing no patience on offense, the Rams dribbled around the 3-point line and fired. Make it misfired.

    The Rams went 5-for-19 in the first half and a woeful 8-of-26 overall. Brenton Butler led Fordham with 17 points.

    Trey Blue banked a wild 3 from in front of the scorer's table late in the first half, causing Villanova guard Scottie Reynolds to smile in disbelief.

    With no starter taller than 6-foot-5, the Rams didn't match up well against the Wildcats and hoped a few quick 3s would catch them by surprise.

    "We had to try and take those shots," Fordham coach Dereck Whittenburg said. "We didn't want to take that many. We needed to also run some offense."

    Villanova enjoyed running the offense through Cunningham.

    With the student section chanting, "You can't stop him!" Cunningham went inside for another easy basket in the second half to make it 86-55 and give him 29 points. He made a layup with 7:31 left to put him over the 30-point mark. He could have easily scored 40 if Wright left him in, but he was pulled at the next timeout.

    "That's what I felt great about tonight, Dante wanting it and continuing to want it," Wright said.

    The Wildcats broke the 100-point mark for the first time since scoring 103 vs. Hartford on Dec. 14, 2007.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    FOR
    VILL
    Points 68 107
    FG Made-Attempted 23-65 (.354) 35-60 (.583)
    3P Made-Attempted 8-26 (.308) 7-14 (.500)
    FT Made-Attempted 14-18 (.778) 30-36 (.833)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 25 (0/0) 23 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 0 42

    2008-09 Season

    DATEGAMELINKS
    » Nov 17, 2008 @VILL 107, FOR 68Recap