Scottie Reynolds put himself into Villanova lore with his shot
that beat Pittsburgh and put the Wildcats into the Final Four last
The Big East powerhouses meet for the first time since that
memorable contest Sunday when the third-ranked Wildcats try to end
a six-game road losing streak against the No. 19 Panthers.
Reynolds was named East Regional MVP after he raced in from
halfcourt and scored with 0.5 seconds left for a 78-76 victory over
the top-seeded Panthers. The basket, dubbed “The Shot,” put
Villanova in its first Final Four since its lone national title in
“That shot’s going to be remembered around here for a long
time,” said Villanova coach Jay Wright at the time.
Villanova (22-3, 11-2) lost three starters from that team, and
Pittsburgh (20-6, 9-4) was forced to replace four. Both teams have
done a terrific job, with the Wildcats trailing No. 5 Syracuse by
one-half game for the Big East lead and the Panthers already
securing their school-record ninth straight 20-win season.
With so few players back from last year’s game, revenge may not
be a huge motivator for the Panthers. Villanova, meanwhile, is
trying to avoid consecutive losses for the first time after falling
84-75 at home to Connecticut on Monday.
The Wildcats have lost both previous visits to the Petersen
Events Center, and have not beaten the Panthers on the road since
Feb. 17, 1996. This is their second visit to Pittsburgh in six
“Now we’ve got the Pitt Panthers, playing them in the Pete. We
haven’t had much success there,” Wright said. “But the thing about
this league is you just gotta get to the next game and get better
in between games and go out and compete every night.”
Villanova turned in its worst shooting game in the Big East this
season against UConn, finishing at 40.0 percent. Reynolds scored a
team-high 18 points.
Three Wildcats fouled out as the Huskies shot 44 free
“You gotta learn in this league, everyone is bringing it every
night and you’re going to be in a battle every night, and if any
little part of your game slips, you’re going to get beat,” Wright
said. “Now it’s getting to be a reality. I think it’s really
helping our team.”
The Panthers are averaging 29.5 free throws during a four-game
home win streak. Pitt has won four straight overall after limiting
Marquette to 35.0 percent shooting in a 58-51 road victory
“For the most part, we did a pretty good job,” coach Jamie Dixon
said. “They didn’t get many open looks.”
The strong defensive effort was needed with no Panther scoring
more than 10 points. Leading scorer Ashton Gibbs, averaging 16.2,
missed all six shots and was held to a season-low two points.
Pitt is 6-0 all-time against top-five opponents at the Petersen
Events Center, where it has won 35 of its last 36.
“In this league, the environments that you play in are so
difficult,” Wright said. “The road environments are so tough,
especially for college kids.”