Local News

NIT: Villanova Eliminates Virginia

Posted March 21, 2004 12:15 p.m. EST

— No matter who Villanova plays in the quarterfinals of the National Invitational Tournament, the Wildcats will see a familiar face.

Villanova (18-16) advanced with a 73-63 victory over Virginia (18-13) Saturday and awaits the winner of Monday's second-round Rutgers-West Virginia game.

Like Villanova, Rutgers and West Virginia play in the Big East, and both the Scarlet Knights and Mountaineers own victories over the Wildcats this year.

"It doesn't matter who we play," Villanova guard Allan Ray said. "Because we owe them both."

Ray scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds Saturday, and Randy Foye added 21 points and six assists to lead the Wildcats, who are making their fifth straight NIT appearance.

Curtis Sumpter scored 10 points and had 11 rebounds, and freshman Mike Nardi added 14 points.

Villanova has won four of its last five games with its only loss coming in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament to eventual champion Connecticut.

"It's a very good win for us," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "(Virginia) is a lot like us. They have a lot of good young players. I think their best days are ahead of them. It was a great test to see where we are."

The Cavaliers were led by Gary Forbes, who scored 19 points off the bench, and center Elton Brown, who scored all 13 of his points in the second half. Virginia's bench outscored the Wildcats' reserves 30-2.

After making 13 3-point field goals in a first-round win over George Washington,

the Cavaliers were only 1-for-10 from beyond the arc against Villanova. Todd Billet, who was 5-for-11 on 3-pointers against the Colonials, was held scoreless by the Wildcats.

Virginia rallied after Sumpter and Jason Fraser both had to sit with four fouls, pulling within six points, 56-50, with 5:15 left in the game.

The Cavaliers got as close as 63-59. But Foye hit six free throws down the stretch, and Will Sheridan made two key defensive plays in the final minute to seal the win for the Wildcats.

"It's tough to get down 13, 14 points and come back," Virginia coach Pete Gillen said. "I was proud of our kids' effort. We just couldn't quite turn the corner."