Villanova played a game at The Pavilion and won. Recap over. Goodnight.
Just kidding, but at this point, it’s really not a story unless Villanova loses at The Pavillon. The defending National Champions have now won 39 consecutive games at their on-campus home with Friday’s 88-48 victory over Lafayette.
Jalen Brunson led the way with 17 points for the Wildcats. Jenkins was one of four Villanova players in double-figures, joined by Kris Jenkins (16), Mikal Bridges (16), and Josh Hart (13) Bridges also led the team with eight rebounds. The game was never particularly close, as ‘Nova led 25-2 at one point.
For Lafayette, Matt Klinewski led the charge with 12 points.
Here are three things we learned.
No Arch, no problem
For the first time in 118 games, Villanova took the floor without Ryan Arcidiacono. If there was any worry about how the team would be without their leader from the last four seasons, the Wildcats extinguished them immediately. While Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins got all the offseason accolades, it was the Jalen Brunson show tonight. As mentioned above, Brunson led the Wildcats in scoring, and also hauled in seven rebounds and didn’t turn the ball over. Brunson’s continued development this year, both as a leader and a player, is going to be one of the most exciting storylines in the entire conference.
‘Nova still loves shooting threes
Throughout Jay Wright’s tenure with Villanova, the Wildcats have always been in the top half of teams in the country in three pointers attempted per game. In the past four seasons, Villanova has been in the top 30 in the stat. It’s no surprise that over half of the Wildcats’ shots were from beyond the arc (41 of 67 total attempts) in Friday’s win.
While the 36.6 (15-41) percentage isn’t where you want to be, it’s a positive sign that Wright isn’t planning on overthinking strategy and changing what worked for the Wildcats last season.
Rebounding is a strength
Villanova had six players with at least five rebounds in Friday’s victory. This is a big development, following the departure of Daniel Ochefu and his 7.5 rebounds per game last season.
It’s easy to chalk the result up to an inferior opponent, but it’s a good step. It will be interesting to see how the Wildcats’ fare on the boards against a taller Purdue team Monday night.
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