MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The final score won't suggest as much, but Villanova's young basketball team probably played its best game Wednesday night at the West Virginia Coliseum.
Trouble was, it still wasn't enough.
The Wildcats (7-6), who have five first-year players and no seniors, lost their Big East opener, 83-69, to a Mountaineers club that is actually younger overall. But they only trailed by three points with a little more than 4 minutes to go, before the hosts went on a 9-0 spurt.
The Wildcats have now lost five of their last six in this building, with that win coming 2 years ago.
They go to 10th-ranked Marquette on Sunday, so it doesn't figure to get any easier.
Maalik Wayns, one of three junior starters and the team's leading scorer, finished with 20 points before fouling out late. He also had seven assists and six turnovers.
Dominic Cheek also scored 20, on 8-for-15 shooting, and had six rebounds. Mouphtaou Yarou also reached double digits, with 13, to go with eight boards.