Nov. 23, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - The Villanova Wildcats (3-2 overall, 0-0 BIG EAST) return to action on Sunday afternoon as they head across town to open the Philadelphia Big Five portion of their schedule with a contest with the La Salle Explorers (2-1 overall, 0-0 Atlantic Ten) at Tom Gola Arena. The game tips off at 1:05 p.m. and will air nationally on the CBS Sports Network as well as on Sportsradio 610 WIP.
The Wildcats hope to rebound from a disappointing 75-57 loss to Columbia at the Pavilion on Tuesday evening.
"They have a lot of different ways they can play, which makes it tough to prepare," says Villanova head coach Jay Wright of the Explorers. "They can play two forwards and three guards or one forward and four guards. It's going to be a tough game and I know that place is going to be rocking."
La Salle is led in scoring and rebounding by forward Jerrell Wright (15.3 ppg and 8.3 rpg). Tyreek Duren contributes 13.0 ppg and forward Steve Zack has taken on an increased role in 2012-13 (8.7 ppg and 5.3 rpg).
"They have really hurt us on the offensive glass over the years," noted Wright.
For the Wildcats, one key will be to reduce the turnovers that helped put them in a hole against Columbia that they were unable to extricate themselves from.
"I thought our turnovers really killed us in the first half," stated Wright. "We got behind against a team that is very good holding the ball and very good at hitting its free throws. We've had to work a lot on taking care of the basketball and being solid offensively."
VU had 12 first half turnovers and a total of 16 for the game on Tuesday night.
The Explorers are looking for a breakthrough in this cross-town series with the `Cats having captured the last 10 meetings, including a pair of tight battles in the last two seasons. VU rallied late to post an 84-81 triumph in 2010 at Tom Gola Arena and then in 2011 got big plays down the stretch from Darrun Hilliard and Maalik Wayns to force overtime, where it went on to deliver a 76-69 win at the Pavilion.
Freshman Ryan Arcidiacono sets the scoring pace for VU at 15.2 ppg while junior James Bell adds 11.6 ppg and a team-best 5.6 rpg. The Wildcats also hope to resume their strong work on the boards which characterized their first two wins in '12-13 after being out-rebounded in each of the past three games.