Rapid Reaction: Villanova 82, UCLA 70
November, 25, 2010
By Kieran Darcy | ESPNNewYork.com
Recap | Box score
NEW YORK -- A quick postgame take on No. 7 Villanova's 82-70 victory over UCLA at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night:
WHAT IT MEANS: Villanova goes to 5-0 on the season, with its first major-quality win, and advances to the championship game of the NIT Season Tip-Off. A rebuilding UCLA team drops to 3-1 on the season, but surely gains some confidence, hanging with one of the top teams in the country.
SPIRITED EFFORT: Villanova closed the first half on a 14-2 run, taking a 44-29 lead into intermission. But UCLA mounted an impressive comeback, cutting the deficit to just six, 62-56, with 5:30 left to play. But the Bruins never could get any closer than that. They showed a lot of heart though, battling the way they did.
UNSUNG HERO: When it comes to Villanova, most of the attention goes to its guard play, and rightfully so -- the starting trio was excellent on Wednesday night. Corey Fisher poured in 26 points, while Maalik Wayns had 19 and Corey Stokes 16. But 6-foot-10 sophomore Mouphtaou Yarou posted a double-double, with 13 points and 16 rebounds -- a great performance by him, doing all the dirty work.
BALANCED, BUT ... UCLA had four players in double figures, but no player with more than 13 points (Malcolm Lee). The Bruins are a tough team to face, but they don't have a top-flight scorer like Nova's Stokes, who they can rely on in the clutch, night after night.
WHAT'S NEXT: Villanova will play No. 24 Tennessee on Friday in the NIT championship game -- tip-off will be approximately 5 p.m. UCLA will take on VCU in the third-place game, scheduled for 2:30 p.m.