#4 Villanova Starts Aggressively and Wins the Season Opener 91 – 51 Over Mount Saint Mary’s
VILLANOVA, PA 11/9/2021 –
In their season opener the fourth ranked Villanova Wildcats looked to start quickly and set the tone. The Wildcats did so and got a 91 – 51 over Mount Saint Mary’s at the Finneran Pavilion. The Wildcats are 20 – 1 in season openers under Coach Jay Wright who felt that tone was set early on the defensive end of the floor.
“I thought we started well defensively,” said Wright. “We want to do that every game. Sometimes we don’t always start aggressively on defense. But I thought we did a good job of that.”
The benefits of starting fast paid benefits to guard Justin Moore who scored a career-high 27 points. The junior made 9 of 15 from the floor and sank 6 of 8 three-pointers, a collegiate-best. He also tied a career-mark handing out 7 assists. The team and Moore got into a flow early and sustained it the whole game.
“We weren’t looking for me specifically. We tried to come out and play together and set the tone defensively, and that helped us get into our offense.”
“It’s what we’ve been working on all preseason, being aggressive and taking your shot when it’s there. And being smart and making the right decisions, which is making the right pass and when to shoot. I think I did a good combination of that.”
Moore scored 17 points in the first half and 10 in the second half. He dished out 4 assists early and 3 later in the game.
“They adjusted on him in the second half, and he still found people, and stayed aggressive,” Wight said about the performance of Moore. “If it’s there you’ve got to take it and he did a really good job.”
Villanova had 13 steals and forced 18 turnovers by the Mount which led to a 27 – 5 edge in points off turnovers.
The Wildcats scored the first ten points of the game. Later in the opening twenty minutes the Wildcats went on a run of eleven straight to stretch the lead to 20-points. In the second half the Mount strung some points together. Nova answered each time, usually with three-pointers. For the game Villanova made 16 of 30 from beyond the arc. Eight of twelve drained in the second half.
Collin Gillespie returned to the floor scoring 13 points and getting 5 assists. Jermaine Samuels and Brandon Slater added to 17 points each. For Slater his total set a career-high in points scored.
Malik Jefferson led the Mount with 13 points and Nana Opoku contributed 11 points.
The Cats are back in front of a crowd at home. And back together on the floor.
“It was definitely exciting to have fans out there,” Moore said. “But it was really exciting being back and playing with my guys and teammates out there together, That’s what’s most exciting.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian