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November 18, 2011

Cats Fend Off Hens: 79-69

A content Pavilion crowd relaxed at half-time after having seen Villanova's defense perform well in the first half and Mouphtaou Yarou lead the charge offensively to post a 38-24 Wildcat edge going into the intermission. It seemed as if the second half would bring more of the same and the Cats would put it in cruise control to seal a 15-20 point win. However, the Delaware Blue Hens had different plans. UD began to control the glass, make some threes and ride a 27 point scoring surge from Devon Saddler to tighten the margin enough to keep the VU faithful interested in the potential outcome for most of the second half.

Offensively, Villanova did a better job of moving the ball around and getting inside-outside scoring balance than against LaSalle earlier in the week. Yarou scored early and often while Wayns chipped in some in the first half. In the second half, it was Maalik Wayns and Dom Cheek who carried the scoring burden as Delaware adjusted somewhat defensively to reduce the number of touches for Yarou. The Villanova Junior class scored 61 of the 79 'Nova points.

Defensively, the Cats played predominantly man-to-man, half-court defense. A little bit of zone and three quarter court zone press was thrown in the mix as well. The defense allowed Delaware to grab 11 offensive rebounds and score 45 second half points. The Hens have some talent but the Villanova defense needs some work. There were some problems in the area of help defense as Delaware was able to move the ball rapidly, dribble penetrate and then kick the ball to wide-open shooters beyond the arc or bigs slipping open in the post.


Only 10 turnovers

Outscored UD by a dozen at the charity stripe

19 assists on 27 made baskets

Shot the ball decently - 48% from the floor, 36.4% beyond the arc and 77.3% from the stripe

The big guns (Wayns, Cheek Mouph) all produced on offense with Wayns and Cheek answering each UD run



Lack of bench scoring. 10 points on 3-10 shooting.

Maalik Wayns (21 Points, 2 Rebounds, 5 Assists, 3 Turnovers)

Solid floor game. He was selective with his own shot and did a good job of spreading the ball around. Wayns hit some big second half jumpers both from three-point land and mid-range. Got to the rim as well on key possessions.

Mouphtaou Yarou (19 Points, 5 rebounds, 2 Steals)

His first game where he failed to get a double-double. Shot the ball well - particularly in the early going. He continues to struggle to provide proper help defense. In a late second half possession, the Cats had Sutton jump out to double the ball-handler and Yarou got caught in "no man's land". He struggled to decide to run out on the shooter or stay at home. The indecision gave the shooter a crease to hit Yarou's man for an easy scoring opportunity at the cup.

Dominic Cheek (21 Points, 4 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 2 Blocks)

Cheek continues to play well in most aspects of his game. He still has lapses with his on the ball defense and handling screens but he is doing so many other things to help the team. He made an impressive blocked shot in a help situation. Cheek did not score until he hit the last shot of the first half. In the second half, he drained three 3-balls and feasted again at the FT line with a 6-6 performance.

James Bell (2 Points, 3 Rebounds, 7 Assists, 0 Turnovers)

J.B.'s only basket was a strong take to the rim in the second half that helped answer a Delaware push. Bell continues to impress with his selfless, team play. He willingly does all the little things while not looking to get his own shots very often.

Darrun Hilliard (6 Points, 6 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 1 Steal, 1 Block)

Hilliard continues to play well for an unheralded freshman in the opening games of his college career. He canned a three-ball in each half, showed some ability to handle the ball against pressure and he led the team in rebounding. One thing he is struggling with a bit is foul trouble. As he becomes more adjusted to and comfortable with the speed of the college game he will likely begin to foul less frequently.

JayVaughn Pinkston (2 Points, 2 Rebounds, 2 Turnovers)

Pinkston again played about half the game. His numbers were rather unimpressive - much the way his play looked. He shot the ball poorly from beyond the arc and struggled to finish his drives to the basket. He seemed to be over-thinking when he dribbled into the defense - stopping and picking up his dribble and then looking for a way to do something positive. The only thing this hesitation accomplished was to allow the defense time to recover from his initial move and make it hard for him to score or find a teammate to pass the ball to. Pinkston needs to take the ball to the rim with authority and start living at the FT line more.

Achraf Yacoubou (5 Points, 1 Rebound)

Yacoubou was quite effective in his 10 minutes of play. The Frosh played strong on-the-ball defense, knocked down a corner three-ball and made a difficult angle, lay-up at the rim in transition.

Markus Kennedy (0 Points, 1 Rebound)

Kennedy played only four minutes. He grabbed one O-board and looked a little out of kilter on defense.

Tyrone Johnson (1 Rebound, 1 Steal, 1 Turnover)

Again Johnson saw only a three minute run. He made one pass that probably would have worked well in HS but was picked off at the college level.

Maurice Sutton (2 Rebounds, 1 Block, 1 Assist)

After a strong showing against LaSalle, Sutton earned a 13 minute burn. Sutton played active on the defensive end and vacuumed up some rebounds on both ends of the floor. He made fast order of a Wayns post feed in the second half that he quickly took flight with and hammered home with authority.

The Cats move to 3-0 on the season after a fruitful eight days of home cooking. Villanova Head Coach, Jay Wright goes for career coaching win #350 on Thanksgiving in an opening round game of the 76 Classic in Anaheim, Calif. against UC Riverside.

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