Villanova won their 42nd consecutive game at The Pavilion and maintained their Big 5 series dominance with their 88-57 victory over the Saint Joseph’s Hawks on Saturday afternoon.
The Wildcats are 2-0 to start the Big 5 series in 2016, and have ripped off 16 straight wins in the series since 2012. After three straight outright titles in the Big 5 series, ‘Nova looks to be well on their way to clinching a fourth consecutive title assuming they handle their business against La Salle and Temple later on this month.
Villanova featured six players in double figures in their 31-point victory over the Hawks. Leading the way was Kris Jenkins who shot 50 percent from the field on 14 attempts and 44.4 percent from the 3-point line on nine attempts from deep. Josh Hart added 16 points of his own while Darryl Reynolds chipped in 13, and Jalen Brunson, Eric Paschall and Donte DiVincenzo added 11, 10 and 10 respectively.
The ‘Cats held the Hawks to a mark of just 33.9 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from the 3-point line. Lamarr Kimble led the way for St. Joe’s on Saturday afternoon with 15 points but did so on 14 shots. Shavar Newkirk was the only other Hawk to get into double figures as he scored 11 on 15 shots from the field.
What we learned
Villanova’s dominance over the Big 5 is still running on
The ‘Cats haven’t lost a Big 5 game since a 76-61 loss to Temple all the way back on December 5, 2012. In the last three years, Villanova has won the Big 5 title outright and it looks like they could be well on their way towards a fourth consecutive title if their first two victories in the series are any indication. They have the benefit of playing Temple at home on December 31 and while the next encounter against La Salle is at the famed Palestra, ‘Nova should be heavily favored to defeat the Explorers. For now, until someone dethrones them, the kings stay the kings of Philadelphia basketball.
Balance remains the name of the game
Mikal Bridges had the least amount of points of anyone who got significant minutes on the Wildcats roster on Saturday afternoon, and he had eight points. Kris Jenkins, Darryl Reynolds, Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart, Eric Paschall and Donte DiVincenzo all finished in double figures and did so efficiently as well. The Wildcats finished the game with a mark of 52.5 percent from the field and 48.5 percent from the 3-point line on 33 attempts. Suffice it to say: Villanova’s scoring options run deep and they’ve yet to skip a beat after their title-winning season a year ago. ‘Nova remains a problem not only for the Big 5 and the Big East, but the entire country as well.
The Wildcats are likely to be No. 1 this week. Yes, THESE Wildcats
Elsewhere in the college basketball world, Kentucky fell to a very good UCLA team at Rupp Arena in Lexington. Given that the Wildcats were the only team ahead of Villanova, you can suspect that these ‘Cats will be the top team in the land when the polls come out on Monday. And few would argue that it’s justifiable at this point in the game.