Villanova needed a big win over a ranked opponent to help assure their place among the Big East elite. Prior to this game, their wins had come against cupcake opponents and they were 0-4 against ranked teams. The win came in the last college basketball ever to be played at the Wachovia Spectrum.
Well, the Wildcats did just what they had to do against the No. 3 Pitt Panthers. Philadelphia native Reggie Redding led all scorers with a career high 18 points, including hitting 10 of 10 from the free throw line. Redding also added seven rebounds.
Villanova was down by five at the half, but came out firing in the second half. They outscored the Panthers 41-26 and ended up winning by 10.
Dante Cunningham added 15 points and five rebounds. Scottie Reynolds scored 10 points and also dished out four assists.
The Panthers played a sloppy game, committing 17 turnovers. They also made just 3 of 16 from three point land, for 18.8%. Their poor shooting was limited to beyond the arc. From the stripe, they made just 10 of 17 for 58.8%.
Sam Young led the Panthers with 14 points and nine rebounds. Levance Fields added 11 points and four assists. Brad Wanamaker scored 13 in 22 minutes off the bench.
Villanova improved to 16-4 overall and 4-3 in the Big East. They are now 31-28 all time in the Wachovia Spectrum, the Philadelphia 76ers' arena where they play major opponents a few times a year. It was built in 1967 but will be torn down later this year.
The Wildcats' next game is at home against the Cincinnati Bearcats on February 1.