Villanova Finally Upends Duke After 50 Years to Advance to the Elite Eight

David AcostaContributor IMarch 27, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - MARCH 21:  Scottie Reynolds #1 and Shane Clark #20 of the Villanova Wildcats cheer from the bench during the game against the UCLA Bruins during the second round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Wachovia Center on March 21, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Last night in Boston it took five decades for third-seeded Villanova Wildcats (29-7) to defeat second-seeded Duke Blue Devils (30-7) with effortlessness 77-54. Scottie Reynolds led Villanova with 16 points alongside Dante Cunningham with 14 points and 11 rebounds while Duke’s Kyle Singler led all scorers with 15 points.  The Blue Devils have defeated the Wildcats their previous five meetings. 

Duke got off to a fast start with five straight points, but Villanova countered with 11 unanswered, and never looked back.  Throughout the game both teams struggled from the perimeter, but Duke who virtually relies on playing half court were a measly 5-27 as their key players Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler combined for only three points made. 

Duke guard/forward Gerald Henderson didn’t register a point in the first half managing only seven points the rest of the way.  Despite Duke’s struggles they trailed by only three in the first 20 minutes with the score 26-23.

In the second half the Blue Devils closed the gap to one, but the Wildcats put the game out of reach with 12 straight, and led by as many as 23 as Cunningham, Reynolds and Reggie Redding dominated the glass, thus out-rebounding Duke 49-34.  

Duke advanced to the Sweet Sixteen with victories over Binghamton and Texas while Villanova overpowered American and UCLA.

While Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and his team contemplate next season the Wildcats have their toughest test on Saturday March 28 as they face top seeded Pittsburgh (31-4), who edged out fourth-seeded Xavier 60-55, for the winner to earn a trip to the Final Four at Detroit.  In the only regular season meeting between the two at Villanova, the Wildcats beat Pitt 67-57.