Villanova Wins Fifth Straight 70 – 60 Over NJIT

Wildcats Limit Themselves To Eight Turnovers, Arcidiacono Scores 17

VILLANOVA, PA. 12/28/2012 – When your team is not shooting well there are others things that need to be done to be able to get the victory.  For the Villanova Wildcats they had to make sure they did not turn the ball over.  Villanova limited their turnovers to a season low eight while forcing 19.  The Wildcats came into the contest averaging over 15 per game.  But Villanova managed to survive and move on winning their fifth straight game 70 – 60 over NJIT at The Pavilion.  Villanova Coach Jay Wright thought that the key for his team was to keep possession of the ball and not fold when the shots do not fall.

“Sometimes you have to find a way to win when you’re not making shots,” Wright said.  “We couldn’t buy a shot, but we found a way.  We’ll take that.  We learned how to win a game when you can’t buy a shot.  We took care of the ball better.”

“Early in the season we may have turned the ball over more, and that may have cost us the game.  You learn from it and you move on.”

The Wildcats forced 19 NJIT miscues to get a 23 – 7 advantage in points off turnovers.  This would be critical as Nova made 20 of 65 field goal attempts (30.8%), and just 5 of 27 from three-point range.  NJIT would shoot 38.3% for the game (23 – 60).

Ryan Arcidiacono
Ryan Arcidiacono

The Highlanders were not intimidated coming into the contest.  They had played Big East teams three other times this season and stayed within single digits each time.  NJIT tied the game at 54 with 5:48 on the clock.  The Wildcats took the lead on a traditional three-point play by Redshirt Sophomore JayVaughn Pinkston.  The lead would grow to seven points on baskets by Freshman guard Ryan Arcidiacono and Sophomore guard Darrun Hilliard.  NJIT would get no closer than three the rest of the way.  Arcidiacono led Villanova with a game-high 17 points as he converted 4 of 11 from distance.

“This team (NJIT) is really tough,” said Arcidiacono.  “I knew going into this game it was going to be a battle.  I am hoping this will prepare me for the Big East.”

Freshman forward Daniel Ochefu pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds.  Hilliard added 12 points while Pinkston and Senior center Maurice Sutton scored 10 points each.  For NJIT forward Ryan Woods scored 13 points.  Guards Chris Flores and P.J. Miller had 11 and 10 points for the Highlanders.

Villanova (9 – 4) concluded the non-conference schedule with  1 9 – 4 record, and readies for the Big East portion of the campaign.  Wright is happy conference play is about to begin.  The players need not be reminded of the tough games that lie ahead beginning with St. John’s on January 2.

“As a coach I feel better when we get to Big East games,” said Wright.  “I don’t have to convince these guys to be ready to play.  With an older team you don’t have to worry about that, but with a younger team they don’t always understand how important every game is.  When you get to the Big East it’s pure, it’s basketball, you don’t have to be worried if we’re ready to play.”


Written By: Glenn Papazian


Twitter: @Phillycolsports



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