Villanova's game plan was simple from the opening tip. Make Towson sweat.
The Wildcats were looking to accomplish what Navy, Morgan State and Temple couldn't do to begin the season. Make Towson sweat. And if Coach Jay Wright's squad did anything Sunday night it was just that. They made Towson sweat, profusely. For a game that was thought to be the 'Cats toughest challenge until they fly to the Bahamas and play USC, it turned out much differently. It became rudimentary very quickly.
'Nova's smothering defense gave an unbeaten Tigers team a wake-up call early in the season, crushing them 78-to -44 on Sunday night at the Pavilion. And as it's been all season, James Bell ran the show for the Wildcats, finishing with a game-high 20 points and four rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the arc.
Oh yeah, Bell did this too. Nothing major. (From the guys at VUHoops.com)
"(James) is a Villanova senior and if you've been at this school for four years and have been in this program, whether I'm the coach or Steve Lappas or Coach (Rollie) Massimino, guys that are seniors in this program are ready to be leaders and great players," noted Wright. "It's part of being on this campus for four years. That's what he is - a leader.
"He's not worried about scoring at all and that's when you score. If you're a good player and you just worry about playing the right way, you score. And he's a good player. He plays the right way and it just happens."
Towson Head Coach Pat Skerry and his club were the preseason favorite to win the Colonial Athletic Association Title but came out in the opening minutes looking winded. 'Nova forced 10 turnovers in the first seven minutes of the opening half, causing a turnover on six consecutive possessions. The Wildcats disrupted Towson's offense 24 times in the contest.
The 'Cats outscored the Tigers 27-1 in points off turnovers and a load of defensive pressure came from Daniel Ochefu. Ochefu's stat line may not be intimidating (four points, eight rebounds, four blocks), but he kept 2013 Honorable AP All-American Jerrelle Benimon at bay.
The second half began the same as the first for Villanova. JayVaughn Pinkston got deep post position and scored and Towson turned the ball over, overthrowing Jerome Hairston. Towson also had a habit of being in foul trouble. The Tigers finished the game with 24 player fouls.
Bennimon, who CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein tweeted was the best player on the floor, finished with team-highs in points (11) and turnovers (five).
- ‘Nova finished the game with four players in double figures. Pinkston and Ryan Arcidiacono had 12, Bell had 20 and Darrun Hilliard had 10,
- Ochefu's defense this season has been great. Currently, he's the only player on the squad with a high NBA-potential as a defender and for his size. Four blocks and great defense on one of the country's best players is impressive.
- Arcidiacono seems to be getting into a rhythm this season. Playing Towson was the firs time he scored in double figures this season and moved well. The bruised ribs should be gone.
- Bell's production has also been impressive through the first three games this season. If he continues to this well this season, Villanova will be hard to beat, by anyone.
- Tony Chennault had an interesting stat line. He finished with six points, seven rebounds, five assists and had two steals and 0 turnovers. Chennault outrebounded Benimon, who was third in the NCAA in rebounding last season.
- The last time Villanova held a team to under 50 points at home was February 9, 2013 against USF. They've also held USF under 50 points two other times in 2010 and 2009.