Feb. 4, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Villanova returns to action on Tuesday night when it meets DePaul at 7:00 p.m. eastern time. The contest will be televised nationally on ESPN2 (John Saunders and Bob Wenzel) and will also be broadcast locally on Sportsradio 610 WIP with Ryan Fannon and Whitey Rigsby on the call.
The Wildcats hope to rebound from a 55-52 loss to Providence on Sunday afternoon at the Pavilion. Villanova rallied from a nine point deficit over the final three minutes to deadlock the game at 52 before a Bryce Cotton 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds remaining gave the Friars the margin of victory.
Villanova dropped decisions to Notre Dame and Providence last week after upending top five teams Louisville and Syracuse in its previous two outings.
"It's somewhat disappointing," stated sophomore guard Darrun Hilliard, who paced the Wildcats with 17 points Sunday and has averaged 15.8 ppg over his last six outings. "You've got to know that in this league, you can get beat any night. We didn't want to get too high after those wins last week and we don't want to get too low off of these losses.
"We know how good we can be. We know we can get better every day."
The efforts to build on those victories were hampered by an offense that has been inconsistent, particularly from long distance. Villanova connected on 14-of-51 (.275) of its field goal attempts on Sunday and was just 2-of-15 from outside the 3-point arc (.133). Both were season lows in that department.
"I think (better offense) starts at the defensive end," stated Hilliard. "When we are getting stops, it gives us a chance to get into transition, move the basketball, and find the open man."
For Villanova head coach Jay Wright, the highs and lows are part of a process for a squad that includes just one senior, forward Mouphtaou Yarou, among its top eight men in minutes played this season.
He cited an example from the game against Providence to amplify his point.
"There are so many little things that are the difference between winning and losing," he stated. "Providence had nine offensive rebounds, which was pretty good for us. Last time, they had 19 against us and they pounded Connecticut on the offensive glass. But the few they had were huge (Sunday).
"They got the biggest offensive rebound of the game and it cost us."
DePaul is led by a pair of 16 ppg scorers in Brandon Young and Cleveland Melvin. The Blue Demons are 10-11 overall, 1-7 in league action and forced Notre Dame into overtime on Saturday at home before falling 79-71 in extra time.
"We're going to get pressed Tuesday and we didn't do a great job with that last year when they played us here," said Wright of an 87-71 VU triumph at the Pavilion that included a season-high 28 turnovers. "The biggest thing for us is to keep grinding, keep working every day. We know DePaul has the kind of scorers who can really get it going and we have to be ready Tuesday."