Villanova advances to Sweet 16

March 23, 2008 9:27:01 PM PDT
Scottie Reynolds and Villanova gave Upset City its first sense of normalcy. Reynolds scored 25 points and Corey Stokes added 20 as the 12th-seeded Wildcats beat tiny Siena 84-72 Sunday to reach the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament for the third time in four years.

Villanova (22-12), one of the last teams picked for the tournament field, advanced to the Midwest Region semifinals in Detroit, where it'll revert to an underdog role against top-seed Kansas (33-3).

And the way the Jayhawks have been playing, the Wildcats can only hope to take some of Tampa's upset mystique with them to Motown.

The tournament pod here had four lower seeds win opening-round games for the first time in NCAA history. Villanova ended the streak, eliminating the 13th-seeded Saints (23-11) with a fast start and superior play at just about every position.

It began with Reynolds and Stokes, who at one point early in the second half had outscored Siena by themselves. They got some timely help from Dante Cunningham and Dwayne Anderson down the stretch after Siena pulled within nine with less than seven minutes to go.

Alex Franklin led Siena with 18 points, but the Saints didn't get the kind of performances they needed from Kenny Hasbrouck, Edwin Ubiles and Tay Fisher, who all played major roles in the team's 21-point upset of fourth-seeded Vanderbilt in the first round.

Hasbrouck had 17 points, but was only 5-of-15 from the field after scoring 30 on Friday night. Ubiles missed his first seven shots and finished 3-of-11 for 12 points, while Fisher was held to five points after going 6-for-6 on 3-pointers and scoring 19 in the wire-to-wire rout of the Commodores.

Cunningham had 14 points and Anderson had two steals and scored four of his eight points during an 8-2 spurt that the Wildcats used to pull away for good, after Franklin had trimmed Siena's deficit to 67-58 with 6:28 remaining.

Siena trailed 42-32 at the half and was fortunate the deficit wasn't twice that.

Two days after shooting a season-best 56.5 percent to take down Vandy, the Saints missed 10 of their first 12 attempts and also struggled from the foul line to dig themselves a deep hole.

Reynolds and Stokes combined for 31 in the first half on 11-for-17 shooting. Villanova's lead would have been larger if Siena hadn't shot twice as many free throws and outscored the Wildcats 13-7 from the line.

In addition to making seven of 15 shots, the 6-foot-2 Reynolds grabbed eight rebounds and had five assists.