VILLANOVA, PA. 12/6/2014 – The #10/9 Villanova Wildcats won their second Big Five game of the week. The method is great defense, team oriented offense, and experience. After defeating La Salle earlier in the week, the Wildcats met rival Saint Joseph’s at the Pavilion and after a fast start earned a 74 – 46 win. Villanova Coach Jay Wright believes defense and experience matters and was the reason behind their success.
“It speaks to our maturity and leadership,” said Wright. “We have two seniors and three juniors. Not may college basketball teams have that. Maturity impacts rivalry games more than anything. When you’re young you get too excited. Our maturity was big in both those games.”
The Wildcats jumped out to an early lead scoring the first 8 points of the contest, and followed that with a 20 – 9 run to take a significant lead. Playing outstanding defense Villanova forced 13 Saint Joseph’s turnovers for a 16 – 6 advantage in points off turnovers in the first half. The defense gave the Wildcats a flow on offense making 15 of 32 from the floor while the Hawks made 9 of 25 attempts. The result was a 44 – 24 halftime lead.
In the second half the lead grew to 30 points in just under 7 minutes.
The Hawks made 9 baskets again in the latter stanza for a 30.5% shooting percentage, and just 9 of 21 from the free throw line.
“It’s a numbers game,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Phil Martelli. “It’s a really hard game when the ball does not go into the basket. For us right now, it doesn’t go in the basket.”
Villanova was led by guard Josh Hart who scored 12 points. Hart felt he was the beneficiary of the team offensive flow.
“When I’m open Coach stresses catch and shoot,” Hart said. “I know Coach trusts me to make shots. I give credit to my teammates.”
Guard Darrun Hilliard and forward JayVaughn Pinkston added 11 points each. DeAndre’ Bembry scored a game-high 13 points for the Hawks.
Villanova won their 8th straight game to remain undefeated, and are 2 – 0 in Big Five play. It was also their eighth straight win in city play. The Wildcats face a tough test against Illinois at the Jimmy V. Classic in Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. Saint Joseph’s evens their record at 4 – 4 overall and 1 – 1 in the city series.
Written By: Glenn Papazian