Nov. 13, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - The Villanova Wildcats outscored Mount St. May's 60-16 in points in the paint and went on to a 90-59 victory over the Moutaineers tonight at the Pavilion. Five Wildcats scored in double figures, led by junior JayVaughn Pinkston (21 points) and Darrun Hilliard (18 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field).
Freshman Josh Hart recorded the Wildcats' first double-double of the new season, scoring 17 points while collecting a team high 11 rebounds.
"I thought we played well," stated Villanova head coach Jay Wright. "I was very pleased with how we played. We have work to do but I thought we defended the three pretty well for us. Probably a great 3-point defensive team wouldn't have been happy with that, but from where we've been, it was a good effort."
The Mountaineers grabbed an early 8-7 lead as they applied pressure that helped ignite their offense. But Villanova went to its bench and got a major lift, particularly from senior guard Tony Chennualt, whose defense and ball distribution helped ignite a 16-0 run that helped Villanova build a 23-8 advantage with 11:20 to play in the opening half.
Chennault ended the night with five points and a team high six assists despite needing six stitches in his lip after a collision at the end of Tuesday's practice.
"Tony had a great game," noted Wright. "Even with the lip, Tony played fearlessly. I was really psyched that he played that hard even with the lip. He's just so solid with the ball. He's playing like a senior point guard. He's controlling the ball, he's controlling the game against their pressure. We broke their pressure and got shots. Defensively, he's great on the ball.
"He definitely gave us an infusion of energy. You don't have to run offense with him. He gets into the lane and can score. He gets people shots and it's valuable to have a guy like that."
A Julian Norfleet basket halted the first half run briefly but Wildcats sophomore Ryan Arcidiacono answered with a triple to stretch the advantage to 26-10 with exactly 10 minutes left in the period.
The Wildcats built the count to 46-25 at the intermission thanks to quality defense and offense in the paint. Villanova outscored the Mountaineers 32-12 in the first 20 on points in the paint and held a 19-15 rebounding edge despite the fact sophomore center Daniel Ochefu logged only two minutes in the period after picking up two fouls early.
After connecting on three of their first nine attempts from the field, the Wildcats finished the period by dropping in 17-of-25, much of it keyed by transition offense.
There was more of the same in the second half as Villanova built a large cushion that never sank below 20 points in the period. All 12 available players saw action for the Wildcats, with the exception being the injured Dylan Ennis. Sophomore reserve Henry Lowe received loud cheers in the final minute when he sank the first basket of his college career.
The final count was 90-59.
For Hart, it was an impressive second appearance at the Pavilion.
"He's just getting better every day," noted Wright. "He had a little setback with a concussion that kept him out for two weeks (in pre-season). As he came back, it was like he was starting over again. But now he just keeps getting better every day.
"We needed guys who could beat their pressure and finish at the rim. These two guys (Darrun and Josh), did it. If you don't have guys like that, it can really be trouble against their pressure. Defensively on the glass (Josh) did a great job. He was a great rebounder in high school but I'm happy to see him do it in college."
Next up for Villanova is a late afternoon matinee on Sunday when Towson visits the Pavilion at 5:00 p.m. (Fox Sports 1/CBS Sports Radio 610).