This idea that Villanova's armada of guards can't shoot too well - 'Nova's early-season numbers may have said that, but past evidence said that those stats wouldn't hold, that the ball would start going into the basket.
The ball has started going into the basket.
At one point during the first half of Villanova's 78-48 victory over Delaware on Tuesday night at the Pavilion, the 17th-ranked Wildcats had made 8 of 17 threes, after missing their first three.
Jay Wright talked afterward about how early in the season they were teaching the new players and even the new starters to be aggressive offensively - but they were being a little "too aggressive,'' Wright said.
"It was good shooters taking bad shots in the beginning of the year,'' said Josh Hart, who had the hottest hand for a while Tuesday.
Now, the offense is starting to flow and Villanova had sprees of consecutive straight threes - three by Jalen Brunson and later two straight by Hart and then three straight by Ryan Arcidiacono. It was the third straight game the Wildcats have made at least 10 three-pointers and shot at least 37 percent in doing it.
Credit Delaware for getting Villanova's immediate attention. Flying out of the gate, Delaware (5-5) took a 12-2 lead three minutes in on four straight three-pointers, raining them down from all over.
As Wright won his 450th career game, Villanova (9-2) started out feeding center Daniel Ochefu inside, which resulted in a make, a miss, and a charge while the Blue Hens were taking their lead. Time for some jumpers, they decided. Hart hit a three and then Brunson nailed three-pointers on three straight 'Nova possessions. From down 10 to up 4 in under three minutes.
The Blue Hens went over six minutes without scoring and got back within five, but were down, 47-26, at the half. Hart and Arcidiacono combined to make 7 of 8 threes. Add Brunson's spree and those three guards were 10 of 14.
With 7 1/2 minutes left in the game, Hart already had a career-high 13 rebounds, seven at the offensive end. The only negative note of the first half: Kris Jenkins went out with a sprained right knee.
"I told our staff in our locker room - we need to get back to our level,'' said Delaware coach Monte Ross, whose Blue Hens have been hanging around Big East and ACC teams for the last few days, losing, 69-61, Saturday at Boston College. "From my standpoint, we came here to win. . . . When you don't win, when you get knocked down like we did tonight, you've got to pick yourself up and find ways to get better.''
Delaware's Kory Holden led all scorers with 23 points. He fit right in with the 'Nova guys, making 6 of 10 threes. By game's end, Villanova's shooters had cooled, the Wildcats ultimately shooting 13 of 35 on threes. Villanova's natural inside advantages also held sway, as they outscored Delaware, 17-10, on second-chance points.