Nova Handles NJIT

The Wildcats took care of business last night by defeating a scrappy and well-coached NJIT team 70-60 at the Pavilion. Villanova overcame poor shooting and rebounding performances by limiting turnovers and getting to the free-throw line with consistency. Ryan Arcidiacono led the Cats with 17 points and 3 assists while Maurice Sutton posted 10 points and 7 rebounds. This was the final out-of-conference game for Villanova which begins Big East conference play against St. John's at the Pavilion on Wednesday night with a 9-4 overall record.
17 point scoring edge at the FT line
Forced 19 turnovers
13 Assists on 20 made baskets with only 8 turnovers
Not so goods:
Out-rebounded by 9
1-16 3PFG shooting by players not named Arcidiacono
18.5% 3PFG shooting total
30.8 FG shooting
Poor possession to finish the first half - had the ball and a 7 point lead and instead of a last shot, Chennault went too early and NJIT was given another scoring opportunity - that kind of pathetic execution will lose you games against quality competition.
Player Evals & Stats
Ryan Arcidiacono
30 Min, 6-13 FG, 4-11 3PFG, 1-2 FT, 0 Reb, 3 Asst, 0 TO, 1 Stl, 17 Pts
This was one of Ryan Arcidiacono's most balanced performances of the season. Though he contributed nothing on the glass and shot predominantly from behind the arc, he took good care of the ball, got some dribble-penetration, and made enough of his three-pointers to be effective. Played with more control than has been his norm.
Darrun Hilliard
30 Min, 2-11 FG, 0-6 3PFG, 8-10 FT, 5 Reb, 0 Asst, 0 TO, 2 Stl, 0 Blk, 12 Pts
Hilliard shot a poor percentage but created scoring opportunities at the free-throw line by being aggressive off the bounce. An optimist would observe that Hilliard need only to begin making a higher percentage of his shots from the field to become a key scoring threat on this team. A pessimist would observe that Hilliard is not a good enough shooter to develop into a primary scoring option. One thing that could be agreed on is that Hilliard will better serve the offense by mixing in some passing off the dribble with his shooting. Hilliard pulled down a few tough rebounds in the second-half.
Jayvaughn Pinkston
21 Min, 3-7 FG, 0-1 3PFG, 4-6 FT, 6 Rebs, 1 Asst, 2 TO, 1 Blk, 0 Stl, 10 Pts
With his playing time shortened a bit in deference to more minus for Ochefu and Yarou, Pinkston was still efficient offensively while contributing on the glass and being relatively strong with the ball.
James Bell
25 Min, 0-7 FG, 0-4 3PFG, 1-2 FT, 3 Rebs, 3 Asst, 2 TOs, 3 Blk, 1 Stl, 1 Pts
In a total reversal from his last outing, Bell couldn't buy a basket but he did contribute some defensive presence on the interior. Certainly a game Bell would like to forget. He will need to show up ready to play for the start of the Big East schedule next week.
Mouphtaou Yarou
19 Min, 1-5 FG, 6-7 FT, 4 Rebs, 0 Asst, 0 TO, 1 Blk, 1 Stl, 8 Pts
Shot his FTs well despite failing to finish much of anything around the cup. Played mediocre defense. Turnover free basketball from Yarou is always a plus.
Tony Chennault
23 Min, 1-6 FG, 0-1 3PFG, 2-2 FTs, 1 Rebs, 3 Stl, 5 Asst., 1 TOs, 4 Pts
Another solid floor game from Chennault. He did a nice job of running the offense and forcing the defense to react a bit to his dribble penetration. Though he was confident shooting his mid-range jumper the results weren't there.
Maurice Sutton
17 Min, 5-6 FG, 0-0 FT, 7 Rebs, 1 Asst., 1 TO, 3 Blks, 2 Stl, 10 Pts
Villanova may not have won this game without the contributions of Sutton - and yet he say only 17 minutes of action. Early in the game his scoring and defense got the Cats off in the right direction and then as the game progressed he was consistently there with a key rebound or bucket - when he was on the floor. It is likely that Coach Wright simply wanted to maximize PT for Ochefu against a team he felt Ochefu could build confidence against. Sutton was obviously earning more run.
Daniel Ochefu
23 Min, 1-5 FG, 0-0 3PFG, 3-4 FTs, 11 Reb, 0 Asst, 1 TO, 0 Blk, 1 Stl, 5 Pts
His 7 offensive rebounds really helped the cause - particularly in the second half. On a night when the Cats were struggling shooting the ball possession was certainly nine tenths of the law. Ochefu contributed a key late dunk and some FTs down the stretch - why Villanova would have the ball in Ochefu's hands late in a close game is a good question.
Achraf Yacoubou
12 Min, 1-5 FG, 1-4 3PFG, 0-0 FTs, 2 Rebs, 0 Asst, 0 Stl, 1 TO, 3 Pts
Too content to jack quick threes on offense. Needs to be more patient on that end of the floor - or more aggressive driving the ball to the rim. His defense and effort remain consistent.
The out-of-conference schedule has answered some questions for Villanova. There have been signs of growth and development of individual players and the team at both ends of the floor but it is difficult to determine if the development is sufficient to allow the Cats to be competitive in the Big East. There are some very good teams in the league and a lot of parity between teams 6 or 7 all the way down to 15. Can Coach Wright coach this squad up to the middle of the pack? … or will a difficult early stretch in the league schedule prove too much to overcome?