After standing for 40 minutes in front of the visitors' bench Saturday at the Pavilion watching 10th-ranked Villanova compete, St. Joseph's coach Phil Martelli said he was "in awe of how they're playing the game and how unselfish they play the game."
"It's a pleasure to watch," he said. "It's not easy to coach against, but it is a pleasure to watch."
The Wildcats might not have had a typical game - a season-high 15 turnovers, a season-low for free-throw percentage, and getting outrebounded for only the second time this season - but their balanced scoring, defense, and experience showed in their 74-46 Big Five victory over the Hawks.
Eight players scored between six and 12 points for the Wildcats (8-0, 2-0 Big Five). Their high man in a game has scored 15 points or fewer in six games. They haven't had a 20-point scorer yet this season.
On defense, Villanova limited St. Joseph's (4-4, 1-1) to 30.5 percent shooting and forced 21 turnovers. The Hawks missed their first 14 field-goal attempts of the second half and were unable to cut into a 44-24 halftime deficit. DeAndre' Bembry, with 13 points, was their only player in double figures.
Both coaches said afterward that it was Villanova's experience - the Wildcats have two seniors and three juniors starting; the Hawks have one senior and one junior in the starting lineup, and nine freshmen and sophomores on the roster.
"Not many college basketball teams have that," Villanova coach Jay Wright said of his veteran starting five. "I think that maturity impacts rivalry games more than anything. When you're young, you get too excited, but I think our maturity was big in both of these games" against St. Joseph's and Wednesday night in an 84-70 win at La Salle.
Hawks junior Isaiah Miles, who was coming off a career-high 20-point performance in a win over Temple, picked up three quick fouls, fouled out in nine minutes, and did not score. Javon Baumann, a 6-8 sophomore who was averaging 23 minutes, also saw only nine minutes of action because of foul trouble.
"They're just not experienced guys," Martelli said of his roster. "To be honest with you, they reacted a little better today than they did at Gonzaga. But look at the numbers: It's on us, we've got to practice and work them and do more with them to get better."
Villanova began the game with a 17-2 run, going 6 of 10 with three three-pointers while St. Joseph's opened just 1 of 7 with four turnovers. The Hawks managed a 7-0 spurt in the latter stages of the first half to close to within 12 but hit only one of their last eight shots and trailed by 20 at the break.
With the Hawks going 0 for 14 to start the second half, 'Nova had six players score in a 12-2 run that made it 56-26 and drained any remaining suspense.
Josh Hart led the Wildcats with 12 points and Darrun Hilliard and freshman Phil Booth added 11.