EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Look out for Villanova.
After losing only once in their first 10 games, the Wildcats (No. 9 ESPN/USA Today, No. 8 AP) showed Saturday they are going to be even better with the return of Reggie Redding.
The senior guard had 15 points and nine rebounds in his first game of the season and Villanova (10-1) took the lead early before cruising to a 96-58 victory over Fordham on Saturday.
Redding, who helped the Wildcats reach the Final Four last season, was suspended by the university for the first 10 games following an accident this summer in which his car hit a pedestrian crosswalk sign near campus.
With coach Jay Wright putting him right back in the starting lineup, Redding shot 6 of 9 from the field and helped the Wildcats grab a 46-30 advantage on the boards.
"He knows every spot," Wright said of Redding. "He can play 2, 3 and 4. He can guard any of those spots and he knows everything we are doing. He is a very unselfish player defensively. He will help someone even if it isn't his man. He has great instincts defensively and he is a great rebounder."
Redding also gives Wright another talented player for his rotation, one who is eager to make up for lost time.
"Before the game I didn't say to myself I was going to go out and get a double-double," Redding said.
Before he could complete his sentence, Wright chimed in.
"You should go out and get a double-double," the coach said. "That's what he can do. It's a good point."
When Redding stopped laughing, he completed his thought.
"I know for this team we need the rebounds and we need to defend," Redding said. "I was just hitting the glass and rebounding. I had nine rebounds and almost a double-double. For this team, it's going to be big for me to rebound. That's one thing I'll focus on this year."
Redding was charged with possession of a small amount of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia following his accident. He eventually entered Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD), but was suspended for violating university policy. His court record will be expunged if he stays out of trouble.
Redding's return gave Villanova another weapon against Fordham (2-7) in rebounding from a loss to Temple on Sunday.
"Just having him back was an extra boost tonight," Fisher said of Redding. "Just to come out and play hard and see him out there, we and our whole coaching staff felt good.
"Now we have our whole team and we are just going to keep trying to get better."
Freshman Chris Gaston had 12 points to lead Fordham. Lance Brown added 11 and Alberto Estwick and Brenton Butler had 10 points apiece for the Rams, who had 17 turnovers and were limited to 32 percent shooting from the field.
Redding had 11 points in the first half in helping the Wildcats open a 46-37 lead.
With the Wildcats trailing 13-12 early, Reynolds scored five straight points and Redding hit a 3-pointer to spark a 32-13 run that put Villanova ahead 44-26.
Fordham, which at times played four freshmen and a sophomore, got within nine points at halftime when Estwick hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
However, the second half was all Villanova. Reynolds, Redding and Fisher all had four points in an early 19-9 run and the Wildcats never looked back.
"We played hard early on," said Jared Grasso, who took over as Fordham's coach on Dec. 3 after Dereck Whittenburg was fired five games into his seventh season. "I thought we competed. We struggled shooting the ball obviously in the second half. We cut it to seven and I thought we were right there and then we didn't score for six or seven minutes, and they are too good a team to have that kind of drought against."