PROVIDENCE – So now that it’s over, the obvious question to ask is this:
Was Scottie Reynolds masking an injury down the stretch?
``Nah, the last two games I was just going too fast,’’ Reynolds said after 10th-seeded St. Mary’s eliminated Villanova 75-68 Saturday at the Dunkin' Donuts Center and ended his college career. ``I just probably needed to slow down a little bit. Probably too urgent to get a shot.’’
Reynold made just four of the 26 field goals he attempted in Providence. Over Nova’s last four games, which included three losses and Thursday’s overtime victory over 15th-seeded Robert Morris, he shot 13-for-52, an even 25 percent.
Reynolds spoke constantly over the last two weeks about getting his legs under his shots, about the concentration to do that. For a player heralded this year for his improved efficiency, it was an alarming admission, and one that played a huge part in Villanova’s stumble down the stretch.
Could he have tweaked a hamstring? Twisted a knee or ankle?
``I don’t want to make excuses,’’ Villanova coach Jay Wright said. ``Their team is going through the same things and they’re moving on. But he expended a lot of energy with this group of juniors and first-year guys. The other guys were just learning how to handle all this. And they had a lot of pressure put on them all year.
``Reggie and Scottie gave up everything. So he could be mentally fatigued. Physically, he probably did too much. Probably tried to bring it harder every day trying to show them how Villanova players practice.’’
Wright leaned hard on the two seniors. So maybe it was not a coincidence that both players struggled in the final month of play. On Saturday, Redding scored just five points on two-of-7 shooting, often passing up shots he might have taken in the past. Reynolds was two of 11, and didn’t even have the late juice he had against Robert Morris to create contact and get to the line.
Reynolds made 15 of 16 free throws against Robert Morris and finished with 20 points.
He went to the line once yesterday, after leaning in to draw contact on a three-point try.
He finished with just eight points in his final college game ever. Most of his shots were badly off the mark, and most were short. His career ended with some dude named Mickey McConnell slapping the ball from his hands as he dribbled the last seconds away.
``I didn’t feel fatigued,’’ he said. ``I don’t know, maybe that’s an ego thing. At the end of the game I pride myself on making shots, making plays. And to just go down the way we did in the last few seconds, after all the success we had and not be able to carry my team to victory…
Said Wright, ``This was a year of great challenges for us. No complaints, no excuses, it happens with every team. Some teams have injuries, some teams have her things. We just had a lot of little challenges. And Reggie and Scottie expended as much energy on their teammates as they did themselves. But that’s what you have to do as a leader. And we almost got there. We just didn’t get good enough. We ran out of time.’’