Game Recap: No. 11 Villanova 91, Providence 61

Mitchell Leff

Yeahhhhhhhh, Providence got rocked.

Radnor, PA -- As simply as any of the 6,500 fans that packed the Pavilion in the first two minutes of the game could put it, Providence just didn't show up.

Maybe the Friars were still reeling from the loss of their stud guard, Brandon Austin, who decided before the game to transfer after being "suspended indefinitely." It possibly could have been from the lack of sleep the team got on the way to the Pavilion due to the fact that their flight got delayed and they took a charter bus up I-95.

No matter the reasoning the result was extremely tangible, both for the Friars and for the Wildcats.

The No. 11 Villanova sprinted past unranked Providence College 91-61 in front of a packed house on snowy Sunday night. The Wildcats shot close to sixty percent from the floor and recorded a season-best 53.8 three-point percentage in the process.

And as disappointing as the loss was for Providence (10-5, 0-2 Big East), Head Coach Ed Cooley came to the post game presser jovial. Cooley gave the Wildcats (13-1, 2-0) their credit as a hot shooting team and added that Providence had sunk to an all-time low.

"That was my worse loss in three years at Providence," Cooley said following his team's defeat in the post-game press conference. "Villanova can beat anyone in the country if they shoot like that. They can beat the Globetrotters when they shoot that well."

Outside of the Wildcats firey shooting, Cooley said he didn't see any positives in his team's performance.

"Not a damn thing," Cooley responded when asked if he could take away anything from the Friars thirty point setback. "Did you see anything positive? If you did, then you're a magician."

But even in victory, Head Coach Jay Wright was adamant that the Wildcats came out shooting well, that the same performance wouldn't be replicated away from the Pavilion.

"I think our start, jumping on Providence like we did, helped," Wright said. "When you get a lead like that it's tough to play from behind. But we won't play like that when we go to Providence."

The Wildcats began the game on a 26-8 swing while shooting a remarkable 91 percent from the field and only missing two shots in the game's opening minutes. The first ten minutes proved to be the difference maker as Villanova continued their torrid perimeter shooting with an 85 percent mark from the floor. In that same time period Providence turned the ball over eight times and missed ten shots.

Villanova would open up the second half in a similar fashion. With 15:56 left to play, the Wildcats netted three triples on a 12-4 swing, two of them coming from senior guard James Bell who missed most of the first half due to foul trouble and fouled out before the game's end.

Providence's Bryce Cotton led all scorers with 25 points on 7-for-15 shooting and going 8-for-10 at the line. Villanova was paced by junior forward JayVaughn Pinkston. Pinkston totaled 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting and seven rebounds. Dylan Ennis added 17 points from the bench and four triples.

The Wildcats had four total players in double figures, freshman Josh Hart chipped in 10 points off the bench and Darrun Hilliard had 15 on 6-for-12 from the field. Villanova never shot worse than 55 percent from the field on the day and forced 17 Providence turnovers.

Looking forward to two conference games in the future, Coach Wright says it's the back-to-back games that keep his team level headed. The Wildcats worked to make sure they were ready after a tough game at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

"We had some really good practices coming back from Butler. We felt in the Butler game that we played with a lot of heart but there were a lot of things we didn't do well. It's easier to coach guys after a win, a close win, when you know you could have lost the game. Our guys put in two hard days of practice and we improved defensively in the last three days."

"After Butler we had long practices, it was fun for the coaches, but it worked. It made improvement...we'll have some ugly nights, we know that. Syracuse was one of them...we did a decent job and mixed it up."

Notes

  • Ryan Arcidiacono wasn't his usual self against Providence and in a good way. Arch hit his first three shots of the game totaling seven points in what may have been the first time he's done that all season. Proving our good friend Dan Gelston of the Associated Press wrong. Chuckles.
  • Dylan Ennis was lights out from the arc, he hit four threes before the middle of the second half against the Friars. He's looked like the best for the point guard position all season.
  • Providence's Tyler Harris went for an open dunk and instead whiffed and threw it into the crowd. So there's that
  • Villanova played in front of recruits: Mikal Bridges (2014) and Donte Divincenzo (2015) as well as the Philadelphia 76ers first round draft pick, Nerlens Noel.
  • JayVaughn Pinkston moved closer to the 1,000 point mark in his career. He currently stands at 986.
  • Providence's Bryce Cotton was the best player on the floor despite the game score. He was cutting through and crossing up players left and right all night and finishing through traffic. After watching him, wouldn't be surprised at a First-Team.
  • Arcidiacono also collided with Ennis during a play and he went to the bench with an injury. Seemed to be holding his head while getting up and tapping the side of his head while sitting on the bench. Appears okay.
  • Jay Wright on Globetrotter comments from Ed Cooley: "When he's looking this good, he could be on the cover of GQ."
  • Wright on Arch's injury: "He's fine. Our trainer would never let anyone go back in if they were hurt. Just like you saw during that Eagles game last night
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