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Bell Nets Season High In Win Over Villanova; Eagles Triumph 92-84

Craig Smith had 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Eagles.

Craig Smith had 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Eagles.

March 4, 2003

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AP Sports Writer

CHESTNUT HILL - Goodbye, Bill Bradley and Elgin Baylor. Look out, Calvin Murphy and Austin Carr.

Troy Bell scored a season-high 38 points to move into 38th place on the NCAA's all-time list and lead Boston College to its ninth win in 10 games, a 92-84 victory over Villanova on Tuesday night.

"He's the best player in the nation," said Craig Smith, who had 21 points and 12 rebounds for BC. "And everybody knows that."

And he's making his mark on history, too.

"When you think about something like that, that's when you don't do it. I'm just going to keep doing what I've been doing."
Troy Bell on becoming the BIG EAST all-time leading scorer

Bell topped the 2,500-point plateau with a 3-pointer in the opening minutes and finished with 2,535, passing Bradley and Baylor, among others. He needs 33 points in the final game against Connecticut on Saturday to pass Lawrence Moten of Syracuse as the leading scorer in Big East games.

"When you think about something like that, that's when you don't do it," Bell said. "I'm just going to keep doing what I've been doing."

That's been plenty good for BC this year.

The Eagles (17-9, 10-5 Big East) took over first place in the conference's East Division and clinched a bye in the first round of the conference tournament. They are one-half game in front of Connecticut, which plays Providence on Wednesday before coming to Boston on Saturday.

Villanova (15-13, 8-7) led by as many as 14 points early in the second half before allowing a 14-2 run to turn the game around. The Wildcats have lost four of five and wrap up the regular season against No. 7 Pittsburgh on Sunday.

Ryan Sidney

"This is crazy, but this is what we've been all year," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "If you go back through our games, you could find every possible way to lose a game. We've done it all. But the one thing we have done all season is, we've kept a good mindset."

Ricky Wright had a season-high 24 points for the Wildcats. He also flattened Bell with a moving pick in the final seconds that raised the ire of the fans and the BC bench, but the two players shook hands after the game with no apparent ill will.

"He apologized," Bell said. "But, you know how it is, you don't want to hear it."

Andrew Bryant had a season-high 16 points for BC, hitting a 3-pointer to tie it 58-all after BC rallied from a 12-point halftime deficit with 21 of the first 30 points in the second. That was the first BC field goal by someone other than Bell or Smith in the second half, and just the third of the game.

Villanova led 60-59 when Bryant hit another 3 to give BC its first lead since the Wildcats went on an 18-2 run to turn an 11-8 game into a 26-13 runaway.

Villanova came within 78-75 before the Eagles pulled away with a 7-0 run on a 3-pointer by Bryant and two free throws each from Ryan Sidney and Louis Hinnant.

With 2,535 career points in 117 games, Bell moved into the top 50 all-time and passed Baylor (2,500 in 80 games) and Bradley (2,503 in 83); Pete Maravich (3,667 in 83) is first. Bell is tied with Willie Jackson of Centenary (La.), two points behind Duke's Johnny Dawkins with Carr (2,560) and Murphy (2,548) within sight.

Bell has 1,373 in 61 Big East games. Moten scored 1,405 in 72 league contests.

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