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Reynolds finds way for Villanova

Scottie Reynolds took the floor about four minutes into Villanova's NCAA first-round game Thursday after being absent from the starting lineup for only the third time in 138 career contests.

This, however, wasn't the same Reynolds, not the guy who had been named an all-American and a finalist for various national player of the year awards.

Reynolds appeared out of sorts. He didn't make a shot from the field until the first minute of the second half, then missed his next eight. Robert Morris, looking to create history as a 15th seed, confounded him at every turn, blocking his drives to the hoop and making sure he got rid of the ball on the perimeter.

But Reynolds, who was benched at the start of the game along with Corey Fisher for what coach Jay Wright called "a little thing about game preparation," hung in, made 15 of 16 free-throw attempts, hit a crucial three-point bucket in overtime, and helped will the Wildcats to a 73-70 victory over the Colonials.

The Cats (25-7), winners for only the third time in their last eight games, advanced to the second round on Saturday against St. Mary's (Calif.). The 10th-seeded Gaels (27-5), from the West Coast Conference, knocked off No. 7 seed Richmond of the Atlantic 10, 80-71, in the second game at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.

Against the scrappy Colonials (23-12), Villanova was desperately trying to avoid becoming only the fifth team to lose as a No. seed to a No. 5 since the NCAA went to 16 seeds in each of four regions in 1985.

Many would argue that the Cats deserved to lose in regulation. They shot 31.3 percent from the field in the two halves, didn't hold a single lead in the final 34-plus minutes, were outrebounded by 33-26, and saw Reynolds hit 1 of 14 shots from the field. Robert Morris led by as many as nine points.

But Reynolds scored seven points, all on free throws, to help Villanova rally from a 55-47 deficit with four minutes left. That closing 11-3 run forced overtime, and then he hit a huge three-pointer -- his only one of the day -- to keep the Wildcats in front, however precariously.

"It's a good feeling when you get at the top of the mountain and you look back at what you did," said Reynolds, who finished 2 of 15. "It was a struggle. I think a lot of people were saying my shot wasn't falling, but I was 15 of 16 from the line."

***

Marquette falls

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- When Quincy Pondexter grabbed an offensive rebound with 34 seconds left in a tie game, Washington coach Lorenzo Romar twice considered calling a timeout to set up a final play.

Romar decided to let his senior leader do it by himself -- and Pondexter wasn't about to miss a chance to add another game to his season.

Pondexter drove for a short bank shot with 1.7 seconds left, and 11th-seeded Washington extended its late-season rally right into the NCAA tournament with an 80-78 victory over Marquette in the first round of the East Regional.

Pondexter scored 18 points in his school-record 134th game, and Isaiah Thomas had 19 as the Huskies (25-9) won their eighth straight in dramatic fashion, roaring back from a 15-point deficit with 13 1/2 minutes left. Yet it still came down to the game-saving grace of Pondexter, a California native eager to expand his place in Huskies history.

Washington made two late defensive stops before Pondexter drove by Jimmy Butler from the perimeter and scored the winner with apparent ease.

"The fear of it being my last collegiate game ever is what propelled me to play well in the second half," said Pondexter, who had 14 points after halftime. "I had to step up. . . . It's one of those storybook shots."

Lazar Hayward (Traditional) missed a half-court heave at the buzzer for the sixth-seeded Golden Eagles (23-11), who didn't manage a field goal in the final 4:33. After playing most of the game at the Huskies' favored up-tempo pace, Marquette's late-season surge ended with an offensive stall.

"Coach was drawing up a play, and I told him I wanted the ball," Hayward said. "It felt good coming off my hand. It was just a little long. I felt like we could have some of the March Madness luck, but we didn't."

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