The emotional ebb and flow of a college basketball season seems unpredictable at times but could likely be captured into fairly accurate tide tables. Villanova was bouncing back from an 18 point loss at Cincinnati while the Huskies were looking to build off a big home win against Syracuse. Given that Villanova is still scratching and fighting for a possible NCAA Tournament berth, the 70-61 Wildcat victory powered by a domination of the boards and boatloads of hustle should come as little surprise.
It was a game of runs and Villanova answered the UConn runs with more sustained runs of its own. The Cats were led by 25 points from Ryan Arcidiacono, 11 points and 16 rebounds from Mouphtaou Yarou, JayVaughn Pinkston's 14 points and 9 rebounds, and a handful of clutch plays and baskets from James Bell in the closing minutes.
Huge rebounding advantage
Shot 5-10 from beyond the arc in the second half
Shot 16-34 from the field in the second half
+4 turnover margin
Held Boatright and Napier to 3-15 shooting, 0-7 3PFG and only 6 points - most of those meaningless
Held UConn to 1-8 3PFG in the second half
Not so goods:
64.7% FT shooting
Player Evals & Stats
36 Min, 8-15 FG, 5-8 3PFG, 4-4 FT, 2 Reb, 2 Asst, 4 TO, 2 Stl, 25 Pts
His 17 first half points kept Villanova in contention as UConn got four made three-pointers from unlikely sources in the opening twenty minutes. In the second half, Arcidiacono made an electric half court alley-oop pass to Bell, knocked down a couple more threes, and scored on a nice drive to his right to get all the way to the rim. Handled the ball well against the UConn pressure and generally made good decisions.
28 Min, 2-10 FG, 1-6 3PFG, 0-0 FT, 2 Reb, 2 Asst, 2 TO, 1 Stl, 0 Blk, 5 Pts
Hilliard closed out the road trip with another sub-par performance. His shot from deep hasn't been falling and he has been more tentative about creating offense off the bounce. Defenses are giving him more attention and his pump fake is proving less effective.
30 Min, 4-9 FG, 0-0 3PFG, 6-12 FT, 9 Rebs, 3 Asst, 2 TO, 0 Blk, 2 Stl, 14 Pts
Very solid game from Pinkston. Took better care of the ball, scored on some quick post moves and contributed heavily on the glass.
25 Min, 4-8 FG, 3-6 3PFG, 0-0 FT, 4 Rebs, 4 Asst, 1 TOs, 2 Blk, 2 Stl, 11 Pts
There is some sort of internal alarm clock in James Bell that rings when games get tight down the stretch and he isn't one to hit the snooze bar. In big games he has made the big plays. He had a crucial block in transition, finished a key alley-oop basket and knocked down a series of important three-pointers with the outcome still in doubt.
37 Min, 5-11 FG, 1-1 FT, 16 Rebs, 2 Asst, 2 TO, 0 Blk, 0 Stl, 11 Pts
Yarou dominated the glass for Villanova and knocked down a couple of timely mid-range jumpers as well. COntinues to step up up down the stretch as a Senior.
24 Min, 2-5 FG, 0-0 3PFG, 0-0 FTs, 1 Rebs, 3 Stl, 2 Asst., 2 TOs, 4 Pts
One of the more solid games for Chennault in a 'Nova uniform. Played well defensively and contributed a pair of buckets. Did a decent job handling against pressure and was less tentative on his dribble-drives.
12 Min, 0-2 FG, 0-0 3PFG, 0-0 FTs, 5 Reb, 0 Asst, 0 TO, 0 Blk, 1 Stl, 0 Pts
Rebounded the ball well in is limited minutes but wasn't overly effective in other aspects of the game. Ochefu doesn't match up well against the smaller, quicker, UConn roster … so Coach Wright chose to play more Yarou and Pinkston.
1 Min, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3PFG, 0-0 FTs, 1 Rebs, 0 Asst, 0 Stl, 0 TO, 0 Blk, 0 Pts
Grabbed a defensive board in a very brief run at the end of the first half.
2 Min, 0-1 FG
Nothing to report here.
5 Min, 0-1 FG, 0-1 3PFG
Brzoja must be tearing it up in practice to earn some run - or Coach Wright felt that Yacoubou's ball-handling may be a concern against UConn's defense. Missed an open, corner three-ball during five minutes of decent play.
The Wildcats advance to 16-10 overall and 7-6 in Big East play. After one step forward at UConn, Villanova cannot afford a step backward against Rutgers (9PM tip at the Pavilion on Tuesday night) if an NCAA Tournament bid is the end goal.