VILLANOVA, Pa – The first ever meeting between the Nicholls Colonels – known in previous years as Nicholls State – and No. 5 ranked Villanova Wildcats will take place Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center. The game will air on FS1 and 610 Sports Radio, the flagship station of Villanova Basketball.
The Wildcats took their season opener, 75-60, over Columbia on Friday night and hope to take another step forward against the Colonels, who defeated UT Rio Grande Valley 111-106 in its opener.
On Monday, Villanova’s Omari Spellman was tabbed BIG EAST Freshman of the Week on the strength of his first career double-double. The native of Ohio scored 11 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in 23 minutes of action.
Said head coach Jay Wright of Spellman’s debut: ““I liked how he rebounded the ball. For a big guy that is the most difficult offense to guard and he did it well in his first game. Also, they brought their five away from the basket and he was forced to guard the ball off of ball screens and he did a good job with it. Decision making, communicating defensively, all of those things well get better the more he plays.”
One plus for Villanova in its win was the balance displayed. Junior Eric Paschall was the team’s leading scorer with 15 points. Preseason All-American guard Jalen Brunson added 14 points while redshirt sophomore Donte DiVincenzo contributed 13 points despite being limited to 19 minutes by foul trouble.
“We have to make (balance) a strength for us,” said Wright. “Everybody has to get each other shots and no one can be worried about being our leading scorer. We pass the ball well, and it might not show because we didn’t shoot great (against Columbia), but I can’t really remember any shots that I thought were bad shots. That all comes with being a great passing team.”
Senior guard Lafayette Rutledge led the Colonels’ potent attack with 20 points on opening night. The Colonels, who are part of the Southland Conference, connected on 14-of-33 (.424) of their 3-point field goal attempts in the win.
Tickets are available for Tuesday night’s game and may be purchased by clicking on the link at the top of the page. Patrons should also be aware of a new bag policy to be used moving forward at all Wells Fargo Center events. Any purses or brief cases larger than 14 x 14 x 6 and all backpacks will not be allowed into the building. Permitted bags should be soft sided. This policy will be strictly enforced and the Center is unable to store oversized or prohibited items. An exceptions will be made for declared medically necessary items after proper inspection.
Following Tuesday night’s action, the Wildcats will begin preparations for a doubleheader with the Villanova women’s squad on Friday evening at PPL Center in Allentown, Pa. The Wildcats women meets Lehigh at 5 p.m. while the men square off against Lafayette at 8 p.m. (FS2).
The 2017-18 Villanova Basketball season is presented by KeyBank.