VILLANOVA, PA. 12/3/2017 – The Temple Owls sit atop of the Big Five standings, and they are the defending champion. The #24/25 Villanova Wildcats are staking a claim to be the best in the city defeating the Saint Joseph’s Hawks 79 – 44 at the Jake Nevin Field House. That match up is a week away on North Broad Street. Sophomore guard Kelly Jekot lead the way for Nova with a career-high 27 points and contributed 6 assists, a career-mark, and 5 rebounds. Forward Jannah Tucker added 13 points.
“It was the most complete game we played all year,” said Villanova Coach Harry Perretta. “Going into the game you would anticipate the game being within a one and ten point range. We just played one of those games. The ball started going in early, the defense was excellent, then it carried over the whole game. We were consistent the whole game.”
The Wildcats started fast on both ends of the floor. Nova broke out to a 20 – 6 lead after one quarter and continued the trend to halftime.
“In the beginning we played really good defense,” said Jekot. “That triggered our offense. Throughout the game we ran our offense and found the open passes and shooters.”
The Wildcats usually create offense from the three-point line. In this game they were going to the basket taking 37 shots from inside the line. For the game Villanova made 31 of 56 (55.4%) and went 7 of 19 from distance. Being more balanced should pay benefits in the future for the Cats.
“It is important as we are known as a three-point team,” Tucker said. “A lot of team play us for the three so we get open passes. Our defense allows us to stay in attack mode.”
Mary Gedaka added 16 points and took down 5 rebounds.
The Wildcats were impressive on the defensive end of the floor holding the Hawks to 29.6% shooting (16 of 54). Saint Joe’s is a good three-point shooting team, but here they made none of only five attempts. SJU also had three costly scoring droughts in the first half.
Adashia Franklyn was the only double-digit scorer getting 10 making 4 of 8 from the floor.
Saint Joseph’s did improve in scoring in the second half getting 30 points on the board.
“We met a very good team on a very good day,” Saint Joseph’s Coach Cindy Griffin said. “Villanova played great, and every opportunity they had to score, they did. Every opportunity we got, we did not.”
The Wildcats remain undefeated at 7 – 0 this season. The team will hit the road for their next four games starting at Fairfield on Wednesday before two more Big Five games at Temple and La Salle. Big East season looms after those games. This was the largest margin of victory in this series.
Saint Joseph’s (5 – 2, 0 – 2 Big Five), coming off a loss at Temple, looks to break the two-game skid at Towson on Tuesday. The Hawks host Penn and Drexel the week after.
Written By: Glenn Papazian