The Villanova Wildcats were handed their first loss of the season Monday night, falling at the hands of the Oklahoma Sooners by the score of 78-55.
The game was never much in doubt for the Sooners who started with a 3-point barrage on the usually stout Wildcat perimeter defense. OU finished with an electric 53.8 percent mark from the 3-point line. The Wildcats, meanwhile, had a bevy of open looks but simply did not have their shot. Villanova finished the game with a 3-point percentage of 12.5.
Senior guard Isaiah Cousins nearly messed around and got a triple double. He scored 19 and dished out 10 assists while adding six rebounds to his line. The 19 points and 10 assists were season highs for the Mount Vernon, New York native. Heralded senior guard Buddy Hield posted 18 points and grabbed four rebounds as well.
Villanova guards Phil Booth, Ryan Arcidiacono and Josh Hart each scored 10 points. The 'Cats collectively shot 31.7 percent from the field
Here's what we learned from this game:
1. Oklahoma is a Final Four-caliber team
Let's just get this tossed aside here. The Oklahoma Sooners thoroughly beat Villanova down Monday night in Hawaii. The three-headed monster of Cousins, Hield and Ryan Spangler contributed 48 points against the Wildcats and two other Sooners joined them in double figures. Villanova's no slouch, and to win like this is as impressive as it gets. It ranks up there with Michigan State's win over Kansas as perhaps the most "quality" win of any team in the country. OU is going places this year with what they have in place.
2. Ochefu stayed out of foul trouble... and it still was not enough
That kind of night for Villanova. Their star center Daniel Ochefu, plagued by foul trouble in recent games, committed just two fouls all night. He scored eight and grabbed 10 boards whilst shooting 50.0 percent from the field. And yet, the Wildcats lost by 23 points. Although OU had a dossier of athletic forwards, it was curious to see Villanova shy away from their big man who was producing without being shelved on the bench thanks in part to fouls. For their sake, the trend continues on Saturday versus La Salle with a bounce back performance that's much needed.
3. Panicking about this Villanova performance is... probably not wise
The looks were there for Villanova and given what they have been in the last few years, the Wildcats should shoot their way out of their early season funk. Yes, their were matchup issues present and Oklahoma imposed their will and delivered an ass whooping. But 'Nova is way too talented to have this kind of performance stunt them in the future. If anything, it's a "learning experience" so to speak as 'Nova turns their attention now to La Salle this Saturday with a matchup against the Virginia Cavaliers looming in the near future. Think before you stand by that ledge, 'Nova Nation. Everything's going to be alright. Probably.