Jan. 18, 2014
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Daniel Ochefu was perfect from the field Saturday and his potent work on the interior helped spark No. 6 Villanova to an 88-62 victory over DePaul (10-9 overall, 2-4 BIG EAST) on Saturday at the Pavilion. Ochefu notched a career-high 14 points by converting all six of his field goal attempts and a pair of free throws.
"I'm so proud of him," stated Wildcats head coach Jay Wright. "Sometimes it takes big guys more time to develop but he keeps getting better and better."
The Wildcats are now 16-1 overall, 5-0 in the BIG EAST.
Villanova connected on 19-of-26 field goal attempts in the second half (.731) to pull away from the Blue Demonds, who brought a two game BIG EAST winning streak with them into today's action.
The early stage of the first half featured gritty defensive efforts at both ends. The contest was tied at 16 with 8:27 left in the first period after a layup by DePaul's Charles McKinney.
Villanova, though, finished the rest of the half on a 17-8 run to build a 33-24 advantage at halftime and Ochefu had a lot to do with that. The sophomore contributed nine first half points, one shy of his season high (10 points in VU's 74-67win at St. John's on Jan. 11).
DePaul scored the first four points of the second half before Ochefu started another run with a traditional 3-point play off a nifty feed from senior James Bell (Orlando, Fla.). The Wildcats scored five more points over the next two minutes and pushed the margin to 40-28 with 16:41 to play as DePaul signaled for a timeout.
The margin did not dip below double digits the rest of the afternoon and VU slowly pulled away to the 88-62 win.
Ochefu had support from a number of areas. Bell led all scorers with 17 points and eight rebounds, including 10 points after halftime. He was 3-of-5 from beyond the 3-point shooting arc and 6-of-9 from the field in a bounce back scoring game.
Hart produced his eighth consecutive double figure scoring game on 5-of-7 shooting from the field. He added five rebounds and a pair of steals in 22 minutes.
Villanova matched a season high in assists (21, previously set against Mount St. Mary's) and a season-low in turnovers (five against Saint Joseph's on Dec. 7).
"We have smart guys and they came to us that way," stated Wright. "They have good basketball intelligence and share the basketball. I think it also helps that we're a year older and more experienced. They have a good feel for what we are doing."
On the whole, Wright was pleased with his team's work for the day.
"This was a good effort for us," stated Wright.
Now the Wildcats turn their attention to Monday night's matchup with No. 20 Creighton. The Bluejays enter Saturday night's game at Providence with an identical 5-0 mark in conference play. The contest on Dr. Martin Luther King Day tips at 7:00 p.m at the Wells Fargo Center. Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery will handle the call on Fox Sports 1.
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