Nov. 14, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - The Villanova Wildcats hope to build on the momentum created from a pair of weekend victories in the 2K Sports Classic when the event shifts to New York's Madison Square Garden on Thursday and Friday evenings. VU meets Purdue in the second game of a doubleheader that is expected to begin at approximately 9:30 p.m.
The contest will be televised by ESPN2 and the Villanova/IMG broadcast can be heard on 1210 WPHT Radio.
"It's always a thrill for us to play at the Garden," stated Villanova head coach Jay Wright. "But our approach has to be that it's 94 by 50 feet, the same as any other court. Nothing changes with what we are trying to accomplish."
The Wildcats earned a pair of victories in the opening rounds of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project.
On Friday night, VU opened the season with a 78-58 victory over UDC at the Pavilion. The `Cats held a 33-28 advantage and then pulled away in the second half. All 10 Wildcats who saw action that night scored points for the winners.
On Sunday, Villanova posted an 80-68 triumph over Marshall. The Wildcats led for much of the day before the Thundering Herd pulled to within two points, 70-68, with 4:01 left to play. However, Villanova's defense clamped down and junior James Bell sank a huge 3-pointer to key a 10-0 run over the final four minutes that locked up the victory.
Freshman guard Ryan Arcidiacono scored 20 of his 25 points in the first half. He became the first Villanova freshman to score 25 or more points in a game since Scottie Reynolds, who did it seven times during the 2006-07 campaign.
"I think the hype is growing every day," notes Wright of his rookie, "but I want him to learn to take things one day at a time. We want to look at the next challenge. We haven't even talked about the Garden yet with the team. Today, the focus is on getting better at this practice. When we get up to New York and have our shootaround tomorrow, then we'll talk about the Garden."
Villanova has not faced Purdue since the 1995 John Wooden Classic in Anaheim, Cal. The Wildcats posted a 67-50 win over the Boilermakers in that matchup and are 1-1 all-time against the Big 10 representative.
"It's a good matchup," stated Wright. "They have a lot of depth and can go nine or ten deep. This will be a good test for us."
The winner of Thursday night's tussle meets the winner of the first game, which pits Alabama against Oregon State. The championship game is set for 7:30 p.m. on Friday evening at the Garden (ESPN2) with the consolation encounter to precede that at 5:00 p.m. (ESPNU).