Feb. 7, 2005
By DAN GELSTON
AP Sports Writer
PHILADELPHIA - Jason Fraser had 14 points and 14 rebounds, and No. 22 Villanova withstood a second-half rally by Saint Joseph's for a 67-52 victory Monday night.
With the sweltering Palestra rocking in the latest meeting between these local rivals, the crowd at the famed home of the Big 5 saw another wild one in the series' 84-year history.
Villanova (14-5) used a full-court press, hustling guard play and the best game of the season from the oft-injured Fraser to take a 21-point lead midway through the second half.
Then Pat Carroll found his shot for the Hawks (11-9).
Saint Joe's leading scorer had a miserable first 30 minutes, missing all 13 of his shots and looking nothing like the two-time defending Atlantic 10 player of the week. Then it all came together for the 6-foot-5 senior, who nailed three 3-pointers and scored 13 of St. Joe's next 16 points during a run that sliced the lead to 49-40.
It was just too little, too late.
The Wildcats hit a few free throws, Fraser fought his way through the middle for a tough inside basket and Allan Ray sank a 3-pointer that pushed the lead back to 61-44 and enabled them to hang on for their fifth win in six games.
Curtis Sumpter scored 15 points, Ray had 14 and Randy Foye 13 for the Wildcats, who jumped two spots in the Top 25 despite a loss to Connecticut last week.
Carroll and Chet Stachitas each scored 16 points for the Hawks.
The Wildcats quickly extended a nine-point halftime lead with their trapping defense. They went to a full-court press and forced turnovers on two straight possessions, scoring off both for a 34-16 lead.
On the first one, Foye swiped the ball and Ray capitalized with a 3-pointer. Then, Sumpter's blocked shot appeared headed out of bounds until Mike Nardi hustled and made a twisting save into the stands that was recovered and finished off by Sumpter with a ferocious dunk.
The Hawks were lucky they didn't trail by more at the break. They missed 21 of 25 shots from the floor and Carroll missed all eight of his shots in the first half.
Stachitas' 3-pointer was SJU's only field goal the last 12 minutes of the half and its last basket until Dwayne Jones' layup 5:23 into the second half.
Carroll was the Hawks' best player, shooting 25-for-40 from the floor and hitting 67 percent of his 3-point attempts in the last three games.
The Wildcats threw a variety of defenders at Carroll and perhaps that flustered him. He rushed a couple of long-range shots that had no arc and clanged off the rim.
Somehow, he found his stroke in the second half and recovered for a 4-for-6 finish.
The Hawks fall to 11-9 and 1-2 in the Big 5.