Former Villanova coach loses in Philly return Print
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Thursday, 06 November 2008 16:27
NCAAB Headline News


 PHILADELPHIA (AP) -He scrunched his face and tossed his hands in the air when a call went against him. Rollie Massimino was honored at halftime and there was a reunion of his former Villanova players.
This all had to look so familiar for Massimino and his Main Line fans, especially when Villanova won this exhibition game.
Only this time, the 73-year-old Massimino was on the losing end.
The 23rd-ranked Wildcats spoiled Massimino's Philadelphia homecoming, beating tiny NAIA Northwood 75-37 on Thursday night. This one was more about a night with ``Daddy Mass,'' at the archaic Spectrum than worrying about wins and losses.
thoughts of an upset.
Massimino shared a pregame hug with his star pupil, Villanova coach Jay Wright. Wright and Massimino forged a friendship at a summer basketball camp in 1984 and the relationship has developed into more of a father-son bond.
Wearing a taupe suit and orange tie and matching orange handkerchief, Massimino spent the final few minutes wiping his brow over this one. The bottom of his pants legs hit the floor, making it obvious his always nattily attired protege did not take his fashion cues from Massimino.
Massimino, who coached Villanova from 1973-92, is forever linked to leading the 1985 team to an improbable national championship. Villanova's 66-64 win over Georgetown on April 1, 1985, in Lexington, Ky., is often called The Perfect Game, and the Wildcats are still the lowest seed (8) to win a national title.
They shot 22-for-28 from the field and made nine of 10 attempts during the second half, in an era before the shot clock.
``You learned more about life than you did about basketball,'' Everson said. ``and we learned an awful lot about basketball.''
Everson and McClain attended the pregame meal and gave their former coach some good-natured ribbing about the way Wright has copied Massimino's offense.
McLain thought it was great he got to see his former coach on the bench one more time.
could be doing a million other things, but he's leading young men. That's Coach Mass in a nutshell.''
The scrappy Seahawks kept pace early with the nationally ranked Wildcats and only trailed 26-21 at halftime. Corey Stokes and Scottie Reynolds hit consecutive 3-pointers early in the second half for a 39-21 lead and Villanova started to pull away.
Dante Cunningham scored 20 points for Villanova and Reynolds had 14.
DeSean White scored 15 points for the Seahawks.
Massimino heard a few calls from the fans for ``Coach Mass!'' when he walked out shortly before tip. He shared a big embrace with Wright in front of the scorer's table and hugged the rest of Villanova's staff. They chatted some more in front of the bench, maybe about the postgame party for Massimino in the Philly suburbs.
Wright and Massimino hugged again and talked more after the game.
Wright served under Massimino from 1987-92 at Villanova, then another two years with him at UNLV. Massimino won 357 games in 19 seasons at Villanova and had stints at UNLV and Cleveland State.
The Wildcats played without senior forward Shane Clark, who had right knee surgery earlier Thursday and is expected to miss three to six weeks. Clark averaged 7.1 points and 4.3 points in 32 games last season.
Wright said Clark had been ``bothered slightly'' by pain in his knee, though it had not prevented him for practicing.
nt 22-13 last season and advanced to the regional semifinals where they lost to national champion Kansas. They are picked to finish fifth in the Big East and open the season Nov. 14 against Albany.
Massimino helped start the Northwood program and the Seahawks started play in 2006. Massimino led them a 50-17 record their first two seasons and consecutive appearances in the NAIA tournament.
 

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