VILLANOVA, PA 11/22/2013 – The Villanova Wildcats found a way to win in their Battle of the Blue against the Delaware Blue Hens, they got the ball inside. Villanova junior forward JayVaughn Pinkston led the way scoring a season-high 26 points, 10 from the foul line. The Wildcats also corralled 19 offensive rebounds to stave off a tough Blue Hens squad led by guard Davon Usher who scored a game-high 27 points. Villanova did not shoot the ball well from the outside, so the ball had to get close to the basket. The inside strength of the Wildcats proved to be a major factor in the Wildcat win.
“It was big,” said Villanova Coach Jay Wright about the impact of the inside game for his team. “JayVaughn inside was a beast. When you have an inside game like that and you are not shooting the ball well, and finding ways to win, that’s because of our rebounding and our inside game.”
The ball was not falling from three-point land for Villanova. The Wildcats made only 5 of 25 shots from distance. The ball was falling for Delaware as they converted 11 of 26 from beyond the arc. Usher made 5 of 10 from deep. Guard Kyle Anderson converted 4 of 9 threes on his way to 17 points. Villanova pounded the glass outrebounding the opposition 45 – 32, 19 – 11 on the offensive end allowing for a 22 – 9 edge in second chance points. Sophomore forward Daniel Ochefu pulled down 6 offensive rebounds, 11 overall. Junior guard Darrun Hilliard grabbed 9 rebounds, 4 on offense on his way to 15 points. When the Wildcats needed the basket the ball went to Pinkston who made 8 of 16 from the floor and 10 of 11 from the free throw line. Pinkston added 3 assists. He was versatile as he needed to be.
“It’s a matter of what we need on any given night ,” said Pinkston about his contributions. “Whatever we need, I think I can do. If coach wants me to play defense, that is what I will do.”
When asked by Wright if he likes scoring inside or perimeter, Pinkston said it didn’t matter to him.
The game was close throughout. Each team had a run to appear to take command, but that did not last. With the game tied at 60 with 10:52 to play, Villanova went to Pinkston and Hilliard.
The pair combined to score 12 of the next 14 points for the Wildcats who opened a 74 – 65 lead on a Hilliard layup with 5:45 on the clock.
“JayVaughn and Darrun are the kind of players that no matter what the opponents are doing defensively, they can go get a shot whether it’s against a zone or man,” said Wright. “These two can go get a shot or an offensive rebound. In that stretch they each did one of those things. They got an offensive rebound, got a shot, caught and shot, got somebody else a shot. They are valuable players that way.”
Delaware did not go away. An Usher three-pointer evened the score at 76 with 3:02 to play. The Wildcats made 8 free throws. Meanwhile the Blue Hens missed three shots from deep and committed two turnovers in that span.
Senior guard James Bell scored 16 points for Villanova and took down 7 rebounds. Sophomore guard Ryan Arcidiacono scored 14 points. In addition to his points and rebounds Hilliard also handed out a team-high 6 assists.
Delaware got a game-high 8 assists from guard Jarvis Threatt who also added 16 points. Forward Carl Baptiste scored 13 points and had 8 boards.
Villanova stays undefeated at 4 – 0 and prepare for a trip to the Bahamas to play in the Battle 4 Atlantis. They will meet USC on Thanksgiving Day. The Wildcats also go with focus.
“This woke us up,” said Hilliard. “We were due for a gut check. Delaware is a tough team, and we are a tough team also. We kept battling with things not going our way. We scrapped and got the win at the end.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian