No. 3 Connecticut Defeats No. 20 Villanova, 89-83
Jan. 21, 2009
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A.J. Price scored a career-high 29 points to lead No. 3 Connecticut to its sixth straight victory, 89-83 over No. 20 Villanova on Wednesday night.
Jerome Dyson added 19 points and Jeff Adrien had 12 points and 14 rebounds, his fourth double-double in as many games, for the Huskies (17-1, 6-1 Big East), who improved to 5-1 this season against ranked teams, with the only loss coming at home to Georgetown.
Dwayne Anderson had 15 points for the Wildcats (14-4, 2-3), who have dropped three of five, with all the losses to fellow ranked teams in the Big East.
The matchup of teams ranked in the league's top five in defense looked nothing like that as the first half ended tied at 48. The defense picked up on both sides in the second half, although both teams allowed more than 20 points over their season average.
Price, the fifth-year senior whose career has been marred by a life-threatening brain injury, a season-long school suspension over on-campus thefts and major surgery after a knee injury in last season's NCAA tournament, had 20 points in the first half. He hit all of Connecticut's four 3-pointers in the game, finishing 4-for-6 beyond the arc.
His previous career high was 26 points against Notre Dame last season and his best outing this season was 24 points in a win over Gonzaga. This was the third time in Price's career he had 20 points in consecutive games - he had 23 in Sunday's win over Seton Hall.
Price was 10-of-13 from the field and had five rebounds and five assists.
The Huskies used a 10-0 run to go up 66-59 on a drive by Dyson with 13:24 to play.
Reggie Redding of Villanova hit a 3-pointer to cut the margin to four, but Price answered with his only 3 of the second half with 12:04 left to make it 69-62.
Connecticut's biggest lead came at 75-64 on a free throw by Kemba Walker with 7:42 to go, but the Wildcats managed to get back to 84-81 on a 3 by Scottie Reynolds with 28 seconds to go. The Huskies went 5-of-6 from the free throw line the rest of the way.
Reynolds had 14 points for the Wildcats, who had won their last two meetings and three of four against Connecticut, while Antonio Pena, Redding and Corey Stokes all had 12.
Adrien's double-double was the 41st of the senior's career and his eighth this season.
Dante Cunningham, Villanova's leading scorer and rebounder with averages of 17.4 and 7.4, fouled out with 8:16 to play and finished with six points and three rebounds.
These teams met in the same building in 2002 with Connecticut winning 46-40.