VILLANOVA, PA. 11/17/2013 – The Villanova Wildcats got off to a fast start and lead by 22 points at halftime and cruised to a 78 – 44 win over the Towson Tigers in their first game under the Battle for Atlantis umbrella at the Pavilion. James Bell led the scoring for Villanova with 20 points. But the story was told on the defensive end of the floor where the Wildcats forced 24 Tiger turnovers and gathered a 27 – 1 advantage in points off turnovers.
“We didn’t want them to get into their offensive set,” said Villanova Coach Wright about the keeping defensive pressure on Towson. “Once Hairston (Towson point guard) got into foul trouble, we were going to stay with it.”
The Blue and White took control of the game with defensive pressure. Towson turned the ball over 18 times that gave Villanova a 21 – 0 advantage in points off turnovers. The Wildcats scored 14 of the first 16 of the game in under four minutes getting three-pointers from senior guard James Bell, junior guard Darrun Hilliard, and sophomore guard Ryan Arcidiacono. From that point Villanova forced six more Towson turnovers and held the visitors to one basket to grab a 22 – 6 lead with 9:16 to play in the half. The Wildcats took a 42 – 20 lead into the locker room. Eight of the nine Wildcat players scored led by Bell with 11 and Arcidiacono with 8 points. Villanova made 12 of 30 from the floor (40%), 6 of 14 from deep, while Towson made 8 of 21 (38.1%) and 1 of 5 from beyond the arc. The edge in shots goes back to Villanova’s ability to force turnovers, and keep possession as the hosts committed five turnovers.
“We got off to a good start doing what we do,” Bell said. “It started with defense and rebounding, and our defense and rebounding led to easy buckets. That’s what we needed to do, and that’s what we continued to do.”
Any thoughts of a comeback that Towson harbored quickly vanished as Villanova opened the second half with a 15 – 4 run to take a 57 – 24 lead with 12:20 remaining in the game.
“We played well,” said Villanova Coach Jay Wright. “Our press was effective and we got out to a big lead at halftime, and that was the difference in the game.”
For the game Towson committed 24 turnovers and made 17 of 55 from the floor (30.9%). Forward Jerrelle Benimon led the Tigers in scoring with 11 points. He was the only double digit scorer for his team.
Bell led four Wildcat players who scored in double figures. Senior forward JayVaughn Pinkston and Arcidiacono
The Blue and White up their record to 3 – 0 on the season, and prepare for a November 22 Battle of the Blue basketball version against Delaware. The Wildcats will resume the Battle 4 Atlantis games against USC Thanksgiving Day on Paradise Island in the Bahamas.
Written By: Glenn Papazian