Tide Hammers Nova

Alabama played an impressive second half at both ends of the floor to run away from Villanova and post a 77-55 win this evening at Madison Square Garden. The Wildcats played aggressive off the dribble and passed the ball well in the first half to create free-throw opportunities and keep the game close. After Darrun Hilliard opened the second half with a game-tying three-ball for 'Nova it was pretty much all downhill from there for Villanova as the Alabama defense shut down the Wildcat offense while going off for 48 points of their own.
The Crimson Tide defense denied dribble-penetration and frustrated Villanova into taking far too many quick and/or deep outside shots that led to transition scoring opportunities for the Tide at the other end as the Cats lacked rebounding position and the floor balance required to transition quickly to the defensive end.
Forced 11 first half turnovers (but only 5 more the rest of the way)
Started the game 4-4 from the floor
Not so goods:
Closed the first half with a 2-16 shooting performance from the floor
Failure to create scoring opportunities for the bigs (0 FGs from Yarou, Sutton, and Ochefu combined in the first half - 8 points total for the game on 2-9 FG shootingl.
Allowed 48 2nd half points
Shot selection
18 turnovers (with only 4 Assists !)
Player Evals & Stats
Ryan Arcidiacono
33 Min, 3-10 FG, 1-8 3P, 4-4 FT, 2 Rebs, 1 Asst, 3 TO, 2 Stl, 11 Pts
This game was Arcidiacono's indoctrination to the quickness and athleticism of high level D1 hoops. He struggled defensively to keep his own man out of the lane and on offense had more difficulty making good decisions with the ball given the quickened pace of the game. The Tide dictated temp and the young floor general was unable to ratchet the Cats down a notch or two to find a good rhythm and create consistent, quality scoring opportunities. Arcidiacono jacked a bunch of deep threes that were ill-advised given how quickly the TIde was turning misses into opportunities of their own at the opposite end of the floor. This should be a good learning experience for the Frosh.
Darrun Hilliard
20 Min, 3-8 FG, 1-2 3P, 2-2 FT, 4 Reb, 1 Asst, 4 TO, 2 Stl, 9 Pts
Hilliard's playing time was limit due to foul trouble. He had some difficulty on the defensive end which led to him taking some fouls and then having to spend too much time on the pine. This negatively impacted the Villanova offense in the first half. IN the second half, Hilliard made some early positive plays but them began to press and rush his shots a bit - perhaps feeling a sense of urgency that his team needed him to step up and carry more of the scoring load as 'Nova struggled to stay within striking distance of the Tide. As with Arcidiacono, this game should be a good learning experience for Hilliard. Fouled out.
Jayvaughn Pinkston
29 Min, 4-6 FG, 1-1 3P, 8-10 FT, 4 Rebs, 0 Asst, 1 Blk, 2 TOs, 17 Pts
Pinkston did a nice job of putting pressure on the defense off his dribble-drive in the half-court and aggressive moves into the lane in transition. He hit some nice floaters in transition and primarily scored from the FT line out of the half-court offense. If he could do a better job passing the ball off the bounce he could really open up scoring opportunities for bigs cutting to the rim off his drives when the help defender slides over or for three-ball shooters spotting up. His early FT shooting slump is a thing of the past and he is beginning to hit a higher percentage of his FGs.
James Bell
26 Min, 1-8 FG, 1-4 3P, 0-0 FT, 6 Rebs, 1 Asst, 3 TOs, 3 Pts
Other than the two big three-balls in the overtime game against Purdue, Bell's offensive performance in the Garden the past two days was offensive. He added value with his rebounding. His passing remains a liability. He continues to try to feed the post in situations where he absolutely no angle to make the entry pass ... as a Junior, at some point he needs to either be taught this or apply the concept in game situations. Fouled out.
Mouphtaou Yarou
19 Min, 0-3 FG, 3-4 FT, 2 Rebs, 1 TOs, 3 Pts
Someone put out an APB for Yarou's mid-range game. Hard to tell if he is in a funk of if Coach Wright has decided not to try to get Yarou touches from the 10-15 range where his ability to face up and drain the mid-range jumper is a nice weapon to have in the offensive arsenal. He needs to play with a scowl on his face and a passionate belief that he can be a dominant performer.
Tony Chennault
21 Min, 1-4 FG, 2-2 FTs, 1 Rebs,1 Stl, 1 TO, 4 Pts
Scored on a nice drive to the rim after the loss was already in the bag. Handles the ball well and doesn't try to do things that are outside of his comfort zone - which is both a plus and a minus because his comfort zone is narrow. Played hard down to the final buzzer - got after it on defense and laid it out to try to get some steals in the closing minutes. Doesn't look like he will be a threat to start but he should be able to earn a few more minutes per game when the Cats face pressing, quicker teams and need ball-handling help.
Maurice Sutton
10 Min, 2-3 FG, 1-2 FT, 4 Rebs, 1 TO, 5 Pts
Oddly, this was one game where Sutton didn't seem to make much of a difference for Villanova on the defensive end of the floor.
Daniel Ochefu
20 Min, 0-3 FG, 0-2 FTs, 2 Rebs, 1 TO, 1 Blk, 0 Pts
Played a bunch of minutes in the first half that were generally positive but he tried to get a little to flashy on one particular dunk and missed it and then looked a little sloppy on a couple other plays. If Yarou continues to be missing in action, expect Ochefu to get more and more minutes. Ideally, they both would be getting plenty of PT both as the lone big and together in bigger line-ups. Right now, nether is consistently productive. To be expected for Ochefu - a Frosh big with a lot to learn in terms of what he can get done consistently at the college level given the size and athleticism of the competition and speed of the game.
Achraf Yacoubou
15 Min, 1-1 FG, 1-1 3P, 1 Rebs, 2 Stl, 1 TO, 3 Pts
Played some solid defense and knocked down the one trey he took. His handle and confidence have taken a step forward. He is on the verge of earning more consistent PT.
Mislav Brzoja
4 Min, 2 Asst.
Played the last few minutes of each half. Did not take a shot but did make a nice pass to Sutton for a buzzer-beating yet meaningless lay-up. With the struggles of Bell, could Brzoja be plugged in at the 3 with Pinkston at the 4 in an attempt to improve ball-handling, passing and potentially the quality of looks produced for the team?
Farrell, Lowe and McMahon
The walk-ons all received a minute of burn at the end of the game. Must have been a thrill for them to take the court at MSG!
Villanova falls to 3-1 for the season and next tips off against Columbia at the Pavilion on Tuesday, November 20th.