‘Nova adds another Top 25 hit

James Evans

The court was jam packed with fanatic fans seconds after the Wildcats knocked off the No. 3 ranked Boston College Eagles at the Pavilion on Wednesday night. The win was the fourth in a row for the ‘Cats and second straight over a ranked opponent. With a 18-6 record and 8-5 in the Big East conference, this writer is willing to make it official and say that they are now a lock for the tourney. Even if they lose their next three and their first game in the Big East tournament (quick everyone knock on wood); they would still be ending the season with 18-10 record and wins over No. 2 and No. 3, not to mention two more wins against top 25 ranked teams.

The game’s key play came with just 2:40 left. With the ‘Cats leading 67-66, Steve Hailey was able to deflect the ball away from Randy Foye and as he chased it down the sidelines. However, Foye got to the ball first and was able to corral the ball and Hailey was called for a foul, his fifth, forcing him out of the game. Foye went to the line sank the two free throws, to make it 69-66 and BC would not get closer than three as ‘Nova was able to hold onto the ball and the lead.

Hailey was the main force for the Eagles down the stretch, as he was able to hit a couple of big shots and was able to dissect the Villanova zone and find the open man.

However, after picking up the fifth foul, no other BC player was able to break down the zone like Hailey did.

“I think we have played two very tough and physical teams the last two games,” Coach Jay Wright said. “They [BC] were just so physical down the stretch and we couldn’t stop [Craig] Smith.”

The win, which came in front of a national audience, will most likely boost the Wildcats even higher into the rankings, as long as they win at Georgetown on Sunday.

The ‘Cats have looked calm and poised going down the stretch of their last two games.

“We are learning how to win with confidence and experience,” Coach Wright said. “That’s what so many of the great teams can do; that is what BC has done now for the last couple of years, and I think we are learning it.”

Coach Wright also pointed out the improvement of the team and their ability to address different situations.

“We’re finding different ways to win against teams,” Wright said. “Tonight we played zone down the stretch and we never play zone down the stretch.”

The win was even more impressive as starting point guard Mike Nardi, who dressed for the game, did not see any time do to an ankle sprain he suffered on Monday at practice. However, Kyle Lowry emerged as the star, scoring 11 points and dishing out three assists.

“He has a tough attitude and he brings it with him on the court,” Coach Wright said referring to Lowry.

Foye led the team in scoring with 23 points, including a shot that sealed the ‘Cats’ victory.

Curtis Sumpter had a solid game with 20 points and eight boards.

The Eagles had no answer for Sumpter in the first half as he poured in 18 points.

Villanova will travel down to Washington this weekend to play Georgetown on Sunday, in hopes of trying to secure a first round bye in the Big East tournament.