VILLANOVA, PA. 12/12/2015 – The Villanova Wildcats took the court looking for a bounce back win after suffering their first loss of the season against nationally ranked Oklahoma. The Wildcats would have to earn it against the visiting La Salle Explorers in a Big Five contest at The Pavilion. To do that Coach Jay Wright felt his team needed to do the little things well. They did and got a 76 – 47 win over La Salle.
“It was attention to detail and the little things,” Wright said. “We didn’t do any of the little things in that game (Oklahoma). Our guys learned a lesson from that and we did a much better job in blocking out on rebounds, making the extra pass, a lot of little things we did a better job of tonight.”
The game can be explained in simplistic terms at times, which is to shoot the ball better than your opponent. For the game Nova shot 54.9% (28 of 51, and 13 of 28 three-pointers) while the Explorers managed a success rate of 32.7% (17 of 52). Villanova had 24 assists on their 28 made field goals. The Cats out-rebounded La Salle by a 34 – 23 margin and shot a perfect 7 for 7 form the line. The little things.
“Even after a win you have to concentrate on the little things,” said Villanova guard Ryan Arcidiacono. “We reestablished ourselves to Villanova basketball. We are trying to establish that with our teammates.”
The Wildcats broke open the contest midway through the first half. Leading 16 – 12 at the 13:07 mark Villanova scored 11 of 14 points over the next seven minutes to lead 27 – 15. The lead would grow to 38 – 23 at halftime. The Wildcats dashed any hopes the Explorers of a comeback starting the half with a 20 – 6 run leading to a 61 – 29 advantage just over seven minutes into the half keyed by 6 three-point baskets.
“Villanova shows you a lot of things about how to play the game well,” said La Salle Coach Dr. John Giannini. “Their passing, shooting and defense are at the highest level. When you don’t succeed, you better learn something.”
Nova had 5 players score in double-figures led by Josh Hart with a game-high 18 points. Arcidiacono had 14 points and handed out 7 assists.
Jordan Price who came into the contest the third leading scorer in the nation. He was held to 16 points on 6 of 17 shooting and was 2 of 7 from distance, but did have a team-best 4 assists.
Villanova is now 8 – 1 for the year and improves to 2 – 0 in the Big Five, halfway to another title. Nova has a tough assignment in their next outing taking on nationally ranked Virginia on the road on December 19.
“This group is not a well-oiled machine, but we have a chance to get a lot better,” said Wright.
Meanwhile, La Salle dropped their third straight game sporting a 4 – 4 record, but are 0 – 2 in the city series. It doesn’t get any easier for the Explorers who prepare for visiting Miami in nine days.
Written By: Glenn Papazian