VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP)—Reggie Redding had a career-high 12 points and used his second-half defense to help lift No. 24 Villanova past Bucknell 70-64 on Sunday.
Redding held John Griffin to five points in the half after Griffin scored 17 in the first half, including five 3-pointers.
“Coach told me at halftime ‘You’ve got Griffin,”’ Redding said. “My eyes lit up, and I said ‘I’m ready.”’
Even though Griffin ended up with a career-high 22, Redding contained him for the majority of the second half.
“I just tried to stay close because you can’t leave him,” Redding said. “He’s a great shooter.”
Bucknell (2-1), which hit a school-record 15 3-pointers in the game, led 38-29 in the second half and fought Villanova (2-0) to the end.
With Shane Clark and Scottie Reynolds leading the way, the Wildcats moved ahead 57-53 with 5:48 to play.
Bucknell came back to tie it at 57-57 on a Griffin 3 with 3:42 remaining, but a 3-point shot by Reynolds made it 60-57. Redding and Dante Cunningham then followed with field goals to stave off the Bison.
“They gave us everything we could handle,” said Wildcats coach Jay Wright, a Bucknell graduate who was a teammate of Bison coach Pat Flannery. “Our defense is always as a team, but I thought Reggie Redding did an incredible job chasing Griffin around.”
Flannery was proud of his team, which was playing a Big East team on its court.
“I thought our kids did a great job,” he said. “We have some players. We’re not coming down here without players.”
Clark scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and Reynolds added 15 for Villanova, which has won seven straight over Bucknell and holds a 14-8 edge in the series. The Wildcats had a 43-26 rebound edge in the game.
Villanova led only once in the first half at 13-11. Two straight 3-pointers by Griffin gave Bucknell a 25-17 lead before the Wildcats tied it 25-25. Bucknell responded with a 10-2 run, including two more 3s by Griffin and a 15-foot runner by Darryl Shazier at the buzzer to take a 35-27 lead at the half.