The Villanova Wildcats have now won 15 straight season openers after their 75-60 victory over the Columbia Lions.
The Wildcats, who now haven’t lost a nonconference regular season game since December 19, 2015, made good use of their home away from home at Wells Fargo Center Friday night.
The game was won in less than beautiful fashion. Villanova only shot 40.3 percent from the field and a dismal 21.9 percent from beyond the arc. Phil Booth, Collin Gilesspie and Donte DiVincenzo shot a combined 60 percent from 3-point land themselves. The rest of the bunch shot a combined 1-17. The one came from preseason All-American guard Jalen Brunson, who went 5-12 from the field with 14 points, three boards and an assist. He committed only one turnover in 34 minutes of action.
‘Nova will now turn their attention to the Nicholls Colonels, who come to town on Tuesday.
What We Learned
Villanova absolutely dominated on the boards
Last season, ‘Nova averaged an OR% of 30.2 percent and the same exact mark in conference play. Friday night, they posted a mark of 37.2 percent. Talk about a leap, huh? Eric Paschall and Omari Spellman paid dividends, picking up a combined 20 rebounds, 11 of them coming from the favorite for Big East Freshman of the Year. Five players had at least four rebounds, and everybody who had a hand in the win came away with at least one. They’ll have to work that into second chance points - only six were racked up - but this was an impressive showing on the glass to say the least.
Spellman will be a problem
In just 23 minutes, the former five-star recruit picked up his first career double-double, going for 11 points and 11 boards. He will have to shore up his efficiency, as he went 5-11 from the field. But for your first game, that’s a pretty stirring performance. Just imagine what he could do with more time on the floor. If he continues to have these kinds of performances going forward, he’s going to be a huge problem for the rest of the country.
Eric Paschall can be the best player on the floor, too.
Say what? Yeah, that’s right. The former Fordham Rams hooper Eric Paschall may very well have been the best player on the floor. Paschall may have gone 0-3 from beyond the arc, but he made up for it elsewhere, going 6-7 on his 2-point tries. He picked up 15 points, thanks to a 3-4 night from the free throw line. Not only that, but he had nine boards and committed no turnovers in 28 minutes of action. That’s a banner day at the office and then some.