Villanova handles Delaware
IF THOSE ancient Mayans were right, none of what happens between now and Friday is going to matter anyway. Or maybe it was Nostradamus?
IF THOSE ancient Mayans were right, none of what happens between now and Friday is going to matter anyway.
Or maybe it was Nostradamus?
Just in case, and because ESPNU insisted, Villanova hosted Delaware Sunday afternoon at the Pavilion. The game wasn't even the biggest news to come out of there. In case you haven't heard, the seven Big East schools that don't play FBS football are leaving the conference to form their own league. But before the media got around to asking about that, there was 40 minutes of basketball that was fairly untweetable.
It happens. But you play 30 of these things. Not every one is going to be Syracuse or Louisville.
The Wildcats, who were coming off an emotional comeback win against Saint Joseph's and were in the midst of final exams, improved to 7-4 by stretching their winning streak to three, 75-65. It wasn't really that close. The Blue Hens (3-8), who've lost seven of eight, had been off for a week. They still haven't beaten Villanova, in 11 tries.
"I think [Delaware] came out with a little more energy," said Jay Wright, whose Wildcats will go to Monmouth on Saturday and host NJIT on Dec. 28 before opening the Big East schedule at home against St. John's the day after New Year's. "[Distractions] shouldn't affect you, if you're a good team. The guys [that started the second half] did a great job of getting us going."
That's because he started three different guys for the second half than he did at the opening tip. Achraf Yacoubou, Tony Chennault and JayVaughn Pinkston replaced James Bell, Mouphtaou Yarou and Darrun Hillard. And it worked. The Wildcats scored 11 of the first 15 points after the break. The lead would get to 18 before it got a little sloppy late.
Villanova got 19 from Pinkston, which matched his season high, 14 from Bell on 5-for-7 shooting (4-for-6 from the arc), a career-best 11 and seven rebounds in 19 minutes off the bench from freshman Daniel Ochefu, and a career-high six blocks from Mo Sutton. The Wildcats had 14 more boards, including 20 at the offensive end, and scored 18 more from three.
"We just need our players to come together and get a lot more feel for each other," Wright said. "People are going to go after our young guards. Our forwards are going to have to make plays."
Devon Saddler led four Delaware double-digit scorers with 19. But the Wildcats had 22 more bench points, and also 22 more on second chances. You don't need the Mayans to tell you that numbers like those are tough to overcome.