Nova Battles Past Iowa: 88-83

Villanova defeated Iowa, 88-83, in the Championship game of the Battle 4 Atlantis in Overtime on Saturday night in a game that more resembled a game in the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament than a November tilt in an island paradise. The Hawkeyes were all over the Cats early and led by as many as 15 in the first half behind a disciplined offense and a large bundle of 'Nova turnovers.
There were several junctures in the game where Villanova got huge contributions from a variety of players that were instrumental in securing victory for the Wildcats.
Down fifteen points with 3:16 remaining in the first half the Cats needed to make a surge in order to get better positioned for a second half run. Josh Hart stroked a trey at 2:52 off a pass from Kris Jenkins, Hart grabbed an offensive rebound that led to JayVaughn Pinkston making one of two FT attempts at 1:28 and Pinkston made a lay-up off an assist from Darrun Hilliard at the 1:02 mark. Those six points and some strong defense put the Cats down only nine going into intermission.
Iowa re-established a double digit lead early in the second half and seemed to have it in cruise control until a torrid three-point shooting effort by James Bell began at the 11:14 mark. Bell found the bottom of the net with a trey to cut the lead to nine, the Hawkeyes missed a lay-up, the Cats came up empty, and then Iowa missed a trey before Bell would strike again with another three at the 10:19 mark to cut the lead to six. Then Bell blocked a shot, grabbed the board, and darted to other end of the court to drill another three-ball at the 10:02 mark to make it a one possession game at 55-52 with 10:02 remaining.
A re-energized Villanova squad would then surge ahead to lead by seven with 4:32 remaining only to have Iowa counter-punch and regain the lead. Ryan Arcidiacono stepped up to nail two crucial three-pointers in the last 1:15 to send the game to overtime.
Iowa drew first blood in the OT with an old school three-point play that was quickly answered by a Kris Jenkins three-pointer and then a Dylan Ennis long ball to put the Cats up three. Hart and Jenkins would each score in the paint before a series of Villanova free-throws sealed the win.
Nova advances to 7-0 on the season (the first 7-win November in team history) and catapults to #5 in the RPI. Villanova opens Big Five play on Wednesday evening against Penn at the Pavilion (8:00 PM tip on Fox Sports 1)
Won the rebounding battle despite playing much of the game without a player over 6'6" in the line-up
Fantastic play from Freshmen, Hart & Jenkins with 26 points and 7 rebounds with only two turnovers
Five double-figure scorers
16 offensive rebounds
14-38 3PFG (36.8%)
Shot 80% from the FT line combined for the 2nd Half and OT
Areas of Concern:
3PFG defense - Iowa shot 45.8%
4-10 FT shooting in the first half
20 Turnovers with 12 coming in the first half
Player Notes:
James Bell: Earned Tournament MVP honors with another stand-out performance. Contributed 20 points, 9 rebounds a clutch, mid-range jumper and the barrage of three-pointers half-way through the second half that turned the momentum in the game and positioned Villanova for the win. Played well defensively using his physicality and hops to guard taller players in the lane.
Darrun Hilliard: One of the benefits of having a deep team with a multitude of players capable of posting double-figures in any given game is that a player like Hilliard can have an off night and the team can still be successful. Hilliard struggled at both ends of the floor with personal fouls, turnovers and a jumper that was a little off kilter. He needs to get his FT shooting back on track (1-5 in this game). Did a nice job on the glass with six boards.
Ryan Arcidiacono: Took nothing but three-point shots making four out of the nine he attempted on his way to 13 points for the game. The two deep, wing three-pointers he nailed in the closing minutes of regulation were massive. His assists came later in the game after Hilliard fouled out and with Chennault not in the the game either. Limited his turnovers.
JayVaughn Pinkston: Though he didn't play at the tail-end of the game nor in the OT, Pinkston made some solid contributions with 14 points and 7 rebounds. Oddly, both he and Kris Jenkins were able to play foul-free through a combined 48 minutes of action in a physical, hard-fought game. Pinkston scored some tough baskets in the lane and made his FTs. His turnover problems continue to pop up in certain games - he tallied 5 in this one.
Daniel Ochefu: On the plus side he posted 4 blocked shots in only 8 minutes of action. On the minus side, Ochefu has not shown the ability to play with composure. He must learn to concentrate on the little things. For example: establishing position on a screen and keeping his feet set in order to avoid being called for fouls when attempting these basic, fundamental basketball plays. Must get the turnovers and little things down if he wants to earn major minutes. He was sent tpothe bench for the night after a 35 second stretch of play in the first half that included two turnovers, two fouls and a technical.
Tony Chennault: Once again, Chennault came in, performed his job well and made a difference. He played a solid floor game for 11 minutes with quality defense.
Josh Hart: He certainly doesn't play like a freshmen. There were portions of the game where you would have thought Hart and his twin brother were both in the game at the same time. He was everywhere - flying for rebounds, filling the lane on the break, and tracking down 50/50 balls. Showed his confidence and competitive spirit in taking the open jumper, in rhythm even in the biggest moments of the game. 14 points, 5 boards and infinite hustle in 34 minutes of play.
Kris Jenkins: Given one of the longer runs of playing time in his career, and in a highly competitive environment, Jenkins showed some of the high basketball IQ he was touted to have prior to his arrival on the Main Line. He makes the right passes, he knows where to be on the floor (several times he drifted to just the right spot to get time/space and make himself available for the pass), and he doesn't back down to physical action in the lane. 12 points in 22 minutes of play. 7 of those points came in OT.
Dylan Ennis: Drained a couple of big three-pointers - in particular, the basket that put Villanova ahead for good at the 4:03 mark in OT. His defense is a work in progress in some ways. He perhaps relies too much on his speed and athleticism and doesn't get in good position to defend. Committed four fouls in only 23 minutes of action.
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Iowa vs Villanova
11/30/13 9:30 p.m. at Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas
Iowa 83
Villanova 88
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