Senior guard Corey Stokes has scored a game-best 16 points off the bench to help the No. 10-seeded Villanova Wildcats take a 49-33 halftime advantage over No. 15 South Florida Bulls in a first-round Big East Conference Tournament contest at Madison Square Garden. The winner advances to play in the second round against No. 7 Cincinnati Bearcats Wednesday at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.
Sophomore guard Shaun Noriega used five 3-pointers to score a team-best 16 points for USF, which opened the game with a 16-8 lead. The Wildcats rallied behind Stokes who netted eight of Nova's next 18 points, including making three free throws that tied the contest at 26-26 with 9:12 to go. From there, Villanova outscored USF 23-7 to take a 16-point margin into the locker room.
Sophomore guard Maalik Wayns chipped in with 12 points for 'Nova, while USF junior forward Augustus Gilchrist tallied 7 points.
Statistically, Villanova shot 16-of-27 (59.3-percent) from the floor, 7-of-12 (58.3) from behind the 3-point arc and 10 for 10 at the free-throw line. USF finished the half 10 for 24 (41.7) on field goals and 5 for 12 (41.7) on 3-pointers. 'Nova leads in the rebound margin, 12-9.