ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) -- For Villanova, the neutral site was a
lot like home.
Will Sheridan added 13 points and Mike Nardi 12 as Villanova
shook off an early challenge from Longwood, a former Division II
school that is in the midst of reclassification to Division I and
suffered through a 1-30 season last year.
"It wasn't pretty, we'll take them anyway we can get them,"
coach Jay Wright said.
The Wildcats (6-0) used 3-point shooting and effective pressure
defense to withstand an early challenge, with Foye and Ray scoring
from outside and the 6-foot-8-inch Sheridan dominating inside.
"We got guys good enough to compete at this level," Lancers
coach Mike Gillian said. "The game would have been much closer if
we did what we had to do."
The non-conference game was played at a neutral site, but it
wasn't so neutral. With Villanova's campus only 78 miles away, the
Boardwalk Hall crowd of 7,007 was dominated by its students, alumni
With Nardi pressing the action and Sheridan scoring almost at
will, Villanova raced to a 13-3 advantage, its zone traps -- which
forced 15 first-half turnovers -- flustering Longwood and leading to
However, the long shot Lancers hung around. Dana Smith hit a
pair of 3-pointers and Michael Jefferson added a jumper to narrow
the lead to 29-25.
Longwood hit 50 percent of its 3-pointers, and they helped keep
the team in the game.
"We were concerned," said Wright. "I know it sounds like
coach talk, but their style was going to be different, attacking
us. It wasn't slow-up. It was just full speed ahead, 100 miles an
hour. They just drove the ball to the rim and shot threes."
That they did. Longwood shot 6-for-12 on 3-pointers, and
outrebounded Villanova 44-35.
But the four-point margin in the first half was as close as the
Nardi hit a 3-pointer and a layup to key a 12-5 run as Villanova
coasted to a 44-32 halftime lead, with Wright substituting
liberally even before the outcome was assured.
The second half was all Villanova. The Wildcats, who hit 44
percent from beyond the arc for the night, used 3s from Foye, Ray
and Nardi to pull away.
Villanova, which is celebrating the 20-year anniversary of its
1985 NCAA championship, has endured the loss of standout 6-7
forward Curtis Sumpter, who tore his anterior cruciate ligament in
practice in October.
But with Foye and Allan's scoring and Nardi's playmaking,
Villanova has more than compensated -- taking a 27.8-point average
margin of victory into this game.
The fourth man in Villanova's four-guard starting lineup, Kyle
Lowry, played only 6 minutes because of back spasms. "It just
tightened up. (He has) a little bit of a history, but nothing
major," Wright said.