Behind smothering defense and the scoring of juniors JayVaughn Pinkston and Darrun Hilliard, Villanova jumped out to a 13-0 run and never looked back, defeating West Chester University in an exhibition contest at the Wells Fargo Center, 88-50, in front of an announced 5,123 fans.
Pinkston finished with 27 points while shooting 8-for-12 from the field and Hilliard collected 26 points, shooting perfectly from behind the arc (6-for-6). The Bethlehem, PA, native added to the heap defensively. He picked off 5 steals and dishing out five assists.
The Wildcats showed how fearsome they could be defensively in 2013, clamping down on the Rams all night on the perimeter. Villanova Head Coach, Jay Wright, said that his team performed excellently everywhere on the floor.
"What I liked most was that (West Chester) was 3-of-12 from three," said Wright, now entering his 13th season with the Wildcats."When you play a team like this that is smaller than we are and have quickness, they can break you down and kick it out for open threes. I thought we did a good job handling that.
The Rams didn't score for almost five minutes at the beginning of the contest, until Eddie Mitchell stopped the drought. The ‘Cats held West Chester to just four first half field goals.
And as stifling at Villanova's defense was, it was the offense that was the most impressive, given the injuries to multiple players before and during the game.
'Nova shot 52 percent (26-of-50) from the field and shot 32 total free throws due to the new rules on hand checking and defensive slides. The Rams were also out-rebounded 44-27.
Yet, with all the new adjusting in the team's only warm-up game before the season opener on November 8th against Lafeyette, Coach Wright didn't draw many concerns.
"I thought we did a good job sharing the basketball," Wright said. "We had 22 assists. It was good to see JayVaughn get it going offensively too."
Injury report: Ryan Arcidiacono, Kris Jenkins and Nick McMahon have all suffered injuries. Arcidiacono dressed for the game against the Rams but didn't play a single minute due to bruised ribs. Coach Wright said it was "precautionary." Jenkins left in the first half with a right foot injury. He wouldn't return to the game and would get X-Rays. McMahon was seen in a walking boot at the Wells Fargo Center, he apparently has a high ankle sprain.
Hart Developing: The D.C native finished with 12 points in 29 minutes of play and added four rebounds and two assists. If the injuries persist, Hart will be grabbing a load of minutes.
Ochefu on the Boards: As expected, Daniel Ochefu finished with four points, 13 rebounds, four blocks and four assists. Rebounding was a major problem for the Wildcats last season, but of Ochefu continues to develop, that issue will quickly get nipped in the butt.