What a waste!

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:45 AM ET

MILWAUKEE -- Somebody should check to see if Charlie Villanueva has a hunting licence, because he had a field day shooting down the Bucks yesterday.

Villanueva was in a major zone at the Bradley Center, shooting 20-for-32 for a career-high 48 points (his previous best was 27), while collecting nine rebounds and three assists.

His 48-point effort was:

- The most by any Raptor this season.

- The second-most ever by a Raptor not named Vince Carter.

- The most by an NBA rookie this season.

- The most by a Raptors rookie, eclipsing the previous record of 37, set by Marcus Camby on March 23, 1997, against Atlanta.

The Raptors, however, were without their other big gun in the frontcourt, Chris Bosh, for most of the game and were unable to break their overtime malaise, losing to Milwaukee 125-116.

Bosh left at the end of the first quarter after suffering a sprained left thumb trying to round up a loose ball.

Losing in OT for the eighth time in nine tries put a damper on Villanueva's special afternoon, as did the loss of his beloved University of Connecticut Huskies in the NCAA Elite Eight against George Mason.

"I found out at halftime that UConn lost," said Villanueva, who played for the Huskies last season. "That sure gave me a little extra fire."

Still, the New York City native enjoyed being in the zone.

"It feels like you can't be stopped, like the basket is bigger than it is," said Villanueva, who also went 6-for-11 from beyond the arc. "I'm a pretty decent three-point shooter. Guys weren't playing me, so I was just taking it."

The highly entertaining game, which saw the lead change 18 times, ended on a sour note for Toronto, as head coach Sam Mitchell ran on to the court with 37 seconds left in OT to ream out referee Gary Zielinski after a loose-ball foul was charged against Morris Peterson. Mitchell was slapped with a technical and ejected for the second time in his career. Afterwards, the still-angry coach made a quick statement to the media and left.

"I'm proud of my team," Mitchell said. "We played hard with one of our better players getting hurt. I couldn't ask for anything more from my guys."

Toronto guard Mike James posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 assists.

There was a great pace to the second half, right until the end when, with 23 seconds left, Peterson fouled Joe Smith and the veteran forward hit one of two for a 109-107 lead, with Villanueva gathering in the rebound on the miss -- giving the visiting side one last chance to win.

On the ensuing play, Peterson missed a layup, but Villanueva gathered in the offensive board and tied it 109-109 with 9.2 seconds left. Michael Redd missed a layup, forcing overtime.

The lead bounced back and forth in OT. The Raptors bench went berserk with a minute and a half left when Peterson was charged with the loose-ball foul, giving Milwaukee possession with two minutes left. Smith then laid in a dunk for a 118-114 lead, and that was the game.

Redd led Milwaukee with 35 points, eight in overtime.


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