When I got word that Villanova was taking on Pitt at the Spectrum for the last college basketball ever in the building, I jumped all over the chance to get tickets, and boy am I ever glad I did.
First off, I'd like to start out by saying, if ever I had any doubt, my hatred for Pittsburgh is still quite alive and well. For some ungodly reason, the person in charge of hooking Toonces, silver fox and I up for tickets decided to put us in the Pitt section upstairs behind the basket. And let me tell you, Pitt fans are the worst people alive, and one jackass in particular got on our nerves.
I called this "man" twinkle toes because every time Pitt made a basket, this horrendously huge douchebag would stand up, do a little dance that involved flailing his wrists in a very dainty way, and gloat as though it was the game-winning bucket in the National Title game. What. A. Scrote. He was the embodiment of why I hate Pittsburgh, and we completely abused this jokester. At one point, he asked what school we went to, and Toonces told him Penn State. He then told us he never heard of it, as if that was some sort of a mock. Honestly, they're smart out west. They're in Philadelphia, 5 hours away, but they've never heard of Penn State, which is two hours away? Good one.
Anyway, the game started off on the wrong foot. No. 3 Pitt scored the first basket and jumped out to a 19-9 lead. Needless to say, it was infuriating in our section, being surrounded by the inbred scum from that horrid, horrid city. Scottie Reynolds was playing like he has the past few games, which is to say, not very well. He was awful.
Thankfully, Reggie Redding, Corey Fisher and Dante Cunningham picked up the slack, and Nova fought back to make a game of it. When the Wildcats took their first lead late in the first half, the place was going nuts. It was a great atmosphere.
And then in the second, Nova came to play for real. In a back and forth battle, Dante asserted himself, coming up with two huge, insane blocks in the first and then getting DeJuan Blair and the rest of the Panthers in foul trouble early in the second.
Dante was a beast, but Pitt hung tough. Lavance Fields and Sam Young kept the Panthers in it, and our aggravation with the Pittsburgh fans continued. Then, Scottie Reynolds decided to show up. He hit a big three, then another and really started to play under control. After making terrible decisions forcing the issue in the first, he slowed things down and took care of the ball. As a result, Nova looked more competent on offense and more in control. And Redding, who had a very good first half, continued his fine play in the second, providing a strong lift with Reynolds in the second half.
In the closing minutes, Villanova really amped up the D and shut down Pitt to pull out the 67-57 upset. And while Dante was the most dominant player on the floor and Redding the most consistent, Dwayne Anderson and Shane Clark were the unsung heroes of the game. Anderson, I shit you not, came out at the halftime shootaround and just stood at the three-point line, behind the pro line, and didn't miss a single shot. Then, when called upon early in the second, he buried a three that really swung the momentum. He played his usual strong defense and really was integral in the win.
And Shane was simply a rebounding machine, especially in the second half. The lanky senior was crashing the boards hard, coming up with a few huge offensive rebounds, giving Villanova precious extra possessions.
After struggling to hit their free throws throughout the game, bringing back memories of the loss to Louisville, Nova--specifically Reynolds and Redding--hit their freebies down the stretch and held on for the win. It was desperately needed for Nova, who sat at 3-3 in the Big East before the victory and had lost all four of its games against ranked opponents. Well, not anymore.
Nova finally got a defining win that hopefully it can build on. But more importantly, they closed college basketball at the Spectrum with a win for Philadelphia. And best of all, it was against those cretins from the retarded side of the state.
I truly, honestly despise Pittsburgh and everyone in it. Man, that was a satisfying win.