LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Scottie Reynolds scored a season-high 36 points, including a game-clinching layup in the final minute, to lead No. 4 Villanova past Louisville 92-84 on Monday night.
Reynolds was nearly perfect, going 9 of 10 from the field, including making all five of his 3-point attempts, as the Wildcats (15-1, 4-0 Big East) snapped a three-game losing streak to the Cardinals (12-5, 3-1).
It wasn't easy, or particularly pretty.
The teams combined for 44 turnovers, 67 fouls and 94 free throws.
Samardo Samuels led Louisville with 21 points and Edgar Sosa added 17, but the Cardinals had no answer for Reynolds.
The senior guard scored 30 points in the second half, including Villanova's final 16, to help the Wildcats beat the defending conference champions.
Louisville led by as many as 17 points in the first half but faltered in the second against the Wildcats' pressure.
Villanova used a suffocating halfcourt trap to disrupt Louisville's guards, putting together a 17-2 run early in the second half to turn a 53-46 deficit into a 63-55 lead with 13:04 to go.
The Cardinals managed to hang around thanks to spectacular free throw shooting. Louisville made 39 of 45 from the line – tying a school record for most free throws made in a conference game – and pulled within three points several times late.
Each time, Reynolds had an answer.
Maalik Wayns hit a free throw to put Villanova up 76-72 with 6:05 to go. It was the last point by a Wildcat other than Reynolds.
Free throws. Three-pointers. Layups, Reynolds hit them all.
He hit a deep 3 to put Villanova up 86-77 with 3:30 remaining. Louisville eventually clawed back to 86-83 and twice had the ball with a chance to tie it.
Jared Swopshire and Preston Knowles both missed 3-pointers, however, and Reynolds put it away with a spectacular lay-in after slicing through the lane to boost Villanova's lead to 88-83 with 58 seconds left.
He made four free throws over the final seconds to keep the Wildcats perfect in the Big East.
Playing in front of a charged atmosphere that included former Louisville star and current New Jersey Nets forward Terrence Williams, the Cardinals missed a chance to bury the Wildcats early.
Louisville led nearly the entire first half as its press rattled Villanova into uncharacteristically sloppy play.
The Wildcats came in averaging just 13 turnovers a game but surpassed that mark in the first half. Louisville's swarming defense made it a struggle for Villanova to get the ball past halfcourt at times.
Villanova coach Jay Wright became so enraged – either at Louisville's physical defense or his own team's shakiness or maybe both – he received a rare technical foul after the Cardinals stole an inbounds pass which Sosa converted into a three-point play.
Wright made sure to get his money's worth. He stormed out onto the court and parked himself in the lane while his staff held him back. Louisville eventually pushed the lead to 38-21 before the Wildcats steadied themselves behind Reynolds to get within 43-36 at halftime.