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March 1, 2006

Villanova wins behind seniors

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VILLANOVA, Pa. Randy Foye and Allan Ray put on one final show for the home crowd.

Foye scored 14 straight points for No. 4 Villanova and finished with 21, and Ray shook off a sprained knee to score 15 in the Wildcats' 65-52 win over St. John's on Wednesday night.

Two of the most instrumental players in returning the Wildcats (23-3, 13-2 Big East) to the nation's elite, Foye and Ray took turns carrying the scoring load in each half of their final home game.

Foye hit four 3-pointers in a stretch where he scored 14 straight Villanova points in the first half that helped build a nine-point lead. Playing with a brace on his left knee after he sprained it in a loss Sunday at Connecticut, Ray showed no signs of pain while driving toward some late-game baskets that helped the Wildcats pull away.

The Red Storm (12-14, 5-10) hung tight most of the game, still within single digits with 6 1/2 minutes left, but simply didn't have enough to keep pace with the Wildcats. Eugene Lawrence and Lamont Hamilton each scored 15 points for the Red Storm.

Ricky Torres made his only basket of the game, a 3-pointer, midway through the half to pull St. John's within 46-39. Hamilton kept the deficit at seven when he scored on a tip-in, but Ray answered any questions about his health with a dunk and Mike Nardi hit a 3 to help give the Wildcats a 17-point lead.

They cruised from there, allowing Ray and Foye to leave the court to a standing ovation and each shared a hug with coach Jay Wright. Ray scored 12 points in the second half.

Foye and Ray were the only regular starters as part of a senior night lineup. Chris Charles, Baker Dunleavy and Jason Fraser started for the Wildcats and were honored during a pregame ceremony. They were all greeted by Wright and Curtis Sumpter, who would have been part of the senior class had he not twice torn his ACL and took a medical redshirt.

St. John's shot well in the first half when it was able to hold on to the ball. Possession was a problem, with the Red Storm committing 13 turnovers in the first 12 minutes of the game. Still, it was tied until Foye took over, hitting a 3, a 19-footer, then three straight 3-pointers. Foye finished with 16 points in the first half as the Wildcats took a 35-30 lead.

For more coverage of the Villanova Wildcats, check out VUSports.com.


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