The #1 team in the country gets the added bonus of being undefeated in nonconference play.
Thanks in large part to an offensively-hot second half, the Wildcats toppled American 90-48.
Staggering final score aside, Villanova began the game with a dodgy consistency. Struggling to find the bucket throughout the first half, the Wildcats had noted difficulty in establishing their expected tempo-of-play.
On American’s part, the Eagles displayed a diligent effort in keeping pace with the Wildcats. Although unable to maintain a precise “shot-for-shot” volley, American remained steadfast in their drives and overall play. Charging to the rim combined with patient handling helped keep the Eagles competitive against ‘Nova.
However, the second half debuted a new, needed energy for the Wildcats. If the first half was characterized by its sluggish scoring, then the second half presented the complete opposite. An invigorated Villanova team returned to the court, and simply exploded offensively. Leading the Wildcats’ effort was none other than Player of the Year hopeful Josh Hart, who ended the game in an impressive 20 points.
American, perhaps in a hurried response to ‘Nova’s upgraded game rhythm, found itself committing foul upon foul. Racking up 10 fouls in the first seven minutes of the second half, the Eagles seemed to be at a defensive loss in the face of a charged-up ‘Nova. By the final seconds, American was also strongly out-rebounded by Villanova 38-17. Despite keeping the scoreboard tight at the start of the game, American fell to making 37.3 percent of FGs, compared to ‘Nova’s 58.5 percent of FGs.
Eric Paschall and Mikal Bridges extensively contributed to Villanova’s second-half electricity. Both players are regarded as dually-cushioning ‘Nova’s absence of Phil Booth, and with 15 points each, both players rose to the occasion this evening at the Pavilion. Paschall consistently pushed through to the basket with ease, while Bridges flaunted his wingspan with dunks and three-pointers galore.
Next stop on the Wildcats’ schedule is Big East conference play. Villanova will be meeting undefeated Creighton in Nebraska on December 31st.