Dec. 20, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - With a week full of final exams behind them, the Villanova Wildcats (7-4 overall, 0-0 BIG EAST) turn their attention back to the court for a Saturday evening contest at Monmouth (5-6 overall, 0-0 NEC). Villanova visits Monmouth's MAC for the second time in the last three seasons on Saturday evening at 7:00 p.m.
"This is always a challenging week for our guys and now we have a tough road game at Monmouth," states Villanova head coach Jay Wright. "When you are a young team, these are new challenges and we'll see how we handle this one."
Villanova brings a 3-game winning streak with it to West Long Branch, N.J., for this test. VU defeated Penn 68-55 on Dec. 8 and then upended Saint Joseph's (65-61) on Dec. 11 and Delaware (75-65) at the Pavilion last Sunday afternoon. The Wildcats have received great production from their bench, which outscored the Blue Hens 38-16 on Sunday.
Sophomore JayVaughn Pinkston has been in a good groove in his new role as the `Cats sixth man. The native of Brooklyn, N.Y., contributed 19 points and six rebounds in the victory over Delaware and is now VU's leading scorer on the campaign (12.2 ppg).
"JayVaughn has really embraced his role," stated Wright, who inserted Maurice Sutton into the starting lineup on Nov. 25 with Pinkston moving into the sixth man slot. "He is a smart player who uses those first couple of minutes on the bench to observe how teams are defending us."
Monmouth has been idle since suffering a 71-38 loss at Maryland on Dec. 12. Andrew Nicholas leads the Hawks in scoring at 13.7 ppg.
Following this game the Wildcats will take a short break for the Christmas holiday before returning to the Pavilion on Friday, Dec. 28 against NJIT. That contest marks the final non-conference regular season of 2012-13 and is also Alumni Night, when former Wildcats are invited back to campus for a celebration of Villanova Basketball. The former athletes will be introduced to the crowd at halftime of the contest.
Once the calendar turns to 2013, Villanova will step into BIG EAST action when St. John's visits the Pavilion on Jan. 2 at 8:00 p.m. (PHL 17/610 WIP). That is the first of 18 conference games on tap this season.