VILLANOVA, PA. 11/22/2015 -The #11 Villanova Wildcats ran their record to 4 – 0 in the early season defeating the Akron Zips 75 – 56 in an NIT Tip Off game at the Pavilion. Offensively, Josh Hart led the way for the Wildcats who filled the stat sheet scoring a career-high 27 points while adding a team-high 9 rebounds and had 2 steals. The statistics told Hart a story.
“It shows how active we were, and Arcidiacono had a good game” said Hart.
“We got in the lane and pivoted and that opened up a lot of people for good shots.”
This Villanova team has shown the ability to score in bunches while at the same time shut down the opposition. Akron, who defeated Arkansas in their last game, started the game shooting well from beyond the arc. The Zips were 6 of 12 from three-point land and held a 26 – 20 lead behind the play of point guard Antino Jackson who had 9 points. Jackson picked up two fouls and went to the bench. The run came as Villanova closed the half with an 18 – 5 run as Akron made 2 of 14 shots prior to intermission.
“Jackson getting in foul trouble was big,” Wright said. “We couldn’t press them as much with him in there. Our depth wore them down.”
In the second half Akron began the stanza missing their first 4 shots. By then Villanova was rolling, and Hart got hot scoring 11 points in the first 7 minutes on his way to a new career mark.
“Josh hit some threes and that pulled them out,” said Wright. “When they came out, he took them in the lane, and got to the rim. He’s the best on our team at that.”
The lead would grow to as many as 23 points for Villanova.
In addition to scoring Hart, Ryan Arcidiacono scored 15 points, dished out 8 assists, and had 2 steals.
The Wildcats committed 7 turnovers and forced 16 by the Zips. Nine if the turnovers were steals.
Jackson led Akron in scoring posting 13 points, but turned the ball over 8 times.
“Over time we say let’s grind through it, and wear them out with our defense.” said Arcidiacono.
Next up for the Villanova will be two games in the Barclay’s Center against Stanford on Thanksgiving Day and a match against either Arkansas or Georgia Tech.
Written By: Glenn Papazian