Madison Square Garden continues to spark quality games for Villanova, as the Wildcats defeated the UConn Huskies 81-58 today in the World’s Most Famous Arena.
Starting the game on a decidedly stagnant note, the offensive movement for both teams slowly dripped. Starting the second half 30-30, the Huskies seemed ready to tip the scales in their favor. However, after a technical foul issued to coach Jay Wright, the Wildcats unleashed into a 19-0 run to pause any hopes of UConn’s point progression. Breaking the pace open, ‘Nova unveiled a flurry of three-pointers—in fact, Villanova ended the game shooting 52% of 3FGs.
With sophomore starting guard Collin Gillespie out after a head injury suffered in practice, freshman Jahvon Quinerly was finally given the chance to play his most meaningful minutes of the season. Quinerly certainly took advantage of the opportunity—despite some initial shaky shooting, Quinerly managed 10 points and four assists.
Senior Eric Paschall dropped a game-high 21 points for ‘Nova, and was trailed by fellow senior Phil Booth’s 18 points. Booth also lead the Wildcats in rebounding and assists, nabbing seven in both categories.
As a whole, Villanova dominantly out-rebounded UConn 35-21, and out-scored the Huskies in the paint 26-24. While the Wildcats committed more turnovers than coach Dan Hurley’s squad (19 compared to 17), Villanova was able to secure more points off turnovers.
Villanova now finishes up the non-conference portion of their season standing 9-4. After a short break during the holidays, the Wildcats will open up BIG EAST play against DePaul on January 2 at home in the Finneran Pavilion.