WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The unpredictable style of guard Scottie Reynolds has put Villanova just two wins away from its first NCAA title in nearly 25 years.
Reynolds’ mad dash to the basket and lay-up with 0.5 seconds left gave the Wildcats a shock 78-76 victory over top-seeded Pittsburgh in the East Regional final on Saturday.
While erratic guard play can make coaches prematurely grey, Villanova coach Jay Wright enjoys the daring style of the six-foot-two, 195-pound guard from Virginia.
“He gets a little out of control, and it’s going to look bad,” Wright told a teleconference on Monday. “But most of the time he’s making plays that people say, ‘Wow’.
“He’s making a lot of plays that other people are afraid to make. And he’s got a great inner confidence. He really is a special kid. He never ceases to amaze me.”
Reynolds scored 15.2 a game this season but none of his points were more important than his final two against a Pittsburgh team many believed were primed to win the title.
Dante Cunningham fed Reynolds in the backcourt with 5.5 seconds left, and the guard weaved past several Pittsburgh defenders for his dramatic game-winning floater.
“He’s made a lot of plays like that,” said 47-year-old Wright. “One of his great characteristics is he never fears failure. And he doesn’t worry about what he looks like.
“He never worries about looking bad. He’s all out, and he knows he’s going to be all out.”
Villanova becomes the dark horse of the Final Four, drawing comparisons to the unheralded team that sank 22 of 28 shots to stun heavily favored Georgetown 66-64 in the 1985 title game.
The Wildcats, seeded third in the East, will now play Atlantic Coast Conference powerhouse and South Region top seed North Carolina in the semi-finals on Saturday in Detroit.
Connecticut will face Michigan State in the other semi-final with the winners playing for the championship on Monday.
Writing by Steve Ginsburg in Washington; Editing by Sonia Oxley; To query or comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org
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