PHILADELPHIA, PA. 11/29/2016 – It has been said that basketball is a numbers game. In this game the shooting numbers were firmly with #2 Villanova. The result was a 82 – 57 victory for the Wildcats over the University of Pennsylvania Quakers at a sold out Palestra. For the game Villanova made 27 of 49 field goal attempts and were a stellar 46.2% (12 – 26) from three-point land. Penn went 18 – 56 from the floor, and just 8 of 27 (29.6%) from distance.
“It was big in this game,” Villanova Coach Jay Wright said about their three-point shooting. “They (Penn) are outstanding defending the three-point line. Us getting some early was important in this game. That made a big difference.”
Kris Jenkins led the way for the Wildcats with 22 points on 7 of 11 shooting and he made 6 of 7 from beyond the arc. His two free throws at the end of the half gave the senior 1,000 career points. Josh Hart scored 12 points and had a career-high 9 assists. Six Villanova players scored in double figures.
When a team is shooting well, turn it over to the defense.
“We try not to rely on offense, our energy comes form the defensive end,” said Jenkins. “We did a great job of playing together defensively. That’s where our energy came from.”
That is what the Cats were able to do. Inthe first half leading 18 – 13 Nova held Penn scoreless for almost 7 minutes and the 12 – 0 run ballooned the score to 30 – 13. By shooting 60% on the first half, 50% from beyond the arc (7 of 14) Villanova had a 44 – 25 lead at intermission. Penn was at 35.7% and made 4 of 12 threes in the first half. The numbers were with Nova.
“We talked about challenging shots, but what that led to was being in front and hope they miss,” said Penn Coach Steve Donahue. “Villanova got these shots and it snowballed on us.”
Jackson Donahue led Penn with 12 points with all 12 being three-pointers. AJ Broduer playing his first game for the Quakers had a team-high 5 made field goals for 10 points. Darnell Foreman had 10 points and a career-best 5 assists.
Villanova is now 7 – 0 and won their first Big Five (1 – 0) encounter of the season, and their 15th consecutive city victory. They improved their November record to 26 – 0 for the month over the last four seasons. Wright does not think about the streak.
“If we think about that, it’s not going to help us get better, and we’ve got to keep getting better,” Wright said.
The defending national and Big Five champions play another city series game on Saturday hosting Saint Joseph’s at the Pavilion.
The Red and Blue (2 – 3, 0 – 1) take a trip to North Broad Street on Saturday for a city game at Temple.
Written By: Glenn Papazian