They played lockdown defense in the second half, only allowing 2 three pointers in the last 20 minutes of play. The Wildcats knew that N.J.I.T. was no pushover, after seeing them defeat Michigan a few weeks earlier. But once the Wildcats were back to their old defensive ways, they were able to easily dispose of the Highlanders.
It was once again a balanced scoring effort for the Wildcats tonight, with 6 different players recording at least 10 points (Pinkston, Ochefu, Ennis, Arcidiacono, Jenkins, Booth). Villanova is at it's most potent when they get everybody involved on the offensive side of the floor. They shot 54% from the field (26-48), while going 8-18 from the three point line.
Winning the turnover battle and getting to the line often were also instrumental in capturing the victory tonight. The Wildcats were very careful with the ball, only committing 5 turnovers all game, with no person committing more than one themselves. The Highlanders, meanwhile, committed 17 turnovers as a team. Just ask any coach, taking care of the ball is one of the most important things a team can do to win a game. Turnovers lead to fast break points and fouls on the other end.
Villanova was also able to get to the free throw line early and often. The Wildcats drew 29 team fouls on the Highlanders, and took advantage of it, going 32-44 on the night. N.J.I.T. drew 19 team fouls on Villanova, but only went 9-13 from the line. Both teams scored at about an even rate from the field (26 field goals for Villanova, 24 field goals for N.J.I.T.), but the difference in free throws was the difference in the game.
The Wildcats improved to 12-0 on the season with the win, and will take on a very dangerous Butler team on New Year's Eve at home to start conference play. The schedule will only get tougher from here, so it will be as important as ever for the Wildcats to play Wildcat basketball for both the first and second half of each game.
By: Dan Goggin
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