PHILADELPHIA, PA. 11/10/2018 – The Quinnipiac Bobcats paid a visit to the Wells Fargo Center. It was a chance for Villanova to welcome back Bobcats Coach Baker Dunleavy, the former top assistant coach to Jay Wright two seasons ago. In their season opener Dunleavy and the Bobcats were facing a former mentor, the defending national champion, and currently the 9th ranked team in the nation. A tall task. Villanova won it 86 – 53.
“Part of it is hard, it is fun to see those guys, but this is a one-time thing,” said Dunleavy. “You play these games against difficult opponents, and mix in the emotion. We are done with that part of it.”
“I was proud of our leadership,” said Wright. “Phil and Eric led the defensive intensity, and Colin is in the role that Phil was these past two years. ”
The leaders stepped up to lead the way. One of them was redshirt senior guard Phil Booth who played virtually all of the first half where he scored 15 of his game-high 23 points and 5 assists. Fellow senior Eric Paschall went to the bench early with foul trouble, but wound up with 11 points and 8 rebounds.
Collin Gillespie had the hot hand for the Wildcats scoring 16 points, a career-high, on 6 of 9 shooting, 4 of 6 from beyond the arc.
The game allowed some of the younger Wildcats to show their skills. Jermaine Samuels added 7 points and pulled down 7 rebounds. Freshman Saddiq Bey made 3 of 4 shots on his way to 8 points. He had 7 rebounds and 2 blocked shots.
They (the younger players) bring a lot of things,” Booth said. “They do a lot of things on both ends of the floor. They’re going to get better and help us a lot.”
Cameron Young led the Bobcats with 18 points and Travis Atson contributed 11.
The next game for Villanova is a nationally televised game against Michigan, the team they defeated in the national final last season. We will know more about this team after the game.
Written By: Glenn Papazian