Reynolds leads Villanova past St. Joseph’s 97-89

Taylor King already knows about the Duke-North Carolina rivalry.

Now, he found one just as intense in Villanova-St. Joseph’s.

King, a transfer from Duke, scored 20 points and hit two key

3-pointers in the closing minutes to lead the No. 3 Wildcats over

St. Joe’s, 97-89 on Wednesday night.

“In some ways, it was like a bout,” said Hawks coach Phil

Martelli. “They took a swing. We took a swing.”

Scottie Reynolds had 22 points, and Antonio Pena chipped in with

15 to help the Wildcats win the area’s most intense rivalry.

Idris Hilliard scored a career-high 22 points, and Darrin Govens

added 19 for St. Joseph’s, which had five players with at least 12

points.

“It was crazy, but I treated it like any other game,” King

said.

Villanova (9-0) converted 30 of 31 second-half free throw

attempts, including 29 in a row, to win for the 43rd time in 57

meetings against the Hawks (3-5).

“That was big,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “We have

good shooters. In the second half, every one was big.”

St. Joe’s charged within four points with less than 2 minutes to

play. But King drilled his fourth 3-pointer with 1:29 left to give

the Wildcats breathing room. Corey Fisher also made four straight

free throws when the Hawks were forced to foul.

“He’s a marvelous player,” Martelli said. “He has a quick

release, a pretty shot and incredible passion.”

The Wildcats trailed 38-37 after Govens turned a Bryant Irwin

pass into a reverse lay-up with 2:41 left in the first half. But

Reynolds drove for a lay-up on the next possession, and Villanova

never trailed again.

The 38 points were the most given up by the Wildcats in an

opening half this season.

After St. Joe’s pulled within one by hitting the first basket of

the second half, Villanova went on a 16-7 run over the next 6

minutes, building a 10-point lead. Their biggest lead of 12 points

came after freshman Dominic Cheek scored on a lay-in with 7:44

left.

“I say it every time,” Wright said. “You can never predict

these games. You’ve got to tough it out. They really played hard

and I’m proud of our guys. They played great and we gutted it

out.”