Davon Usher had 16 first half points on 6 of 8 shooting, including 3 of 5 from beyond the arc, to lead the Blue Hens' first half scoring. Former Saint Joseph's Hawk Carl Baptiste added 13 first half points and 6 rebounds for Delaware to keep them in the game early.
While Villanova shot 45.7 % from the field in the first half, they struggled from deep, shooting just 23.1% (3-13) from beyond the arc. JayVaughn Pinkston and James Bell led the way for the Wildcats in the first half, each scoring 12 points, while Darrun Hilliard and Ryan Arcidiacono added 7 apiece.
Things would remain tight in the second act, as the Wildcats and Blue Hens traded baskets. In the end, Villanova was able to hold on for the 84 to 80 victory to move to 4-0 to start the season.
The Blue Hens were led in their losing efforts by Usher, who finished with 27 points and Kyle Anderson who scored 17. After making just 1 of 10 shots in the first half, guard Jarvis Threatt picked things up a bit in the second half, finishing the game with 16 points. While Threatt turned things around in the second half, Baptiste struggled, failing to score any second half points.
JayVaughn Pinkston took the reins for the Wildcats, dropping 26 points, including 10 for 11 from the charity stripe, and grabbing 5 rebounds. Villanova received solid contributions from the rest of the starters as well. Bell finished with 16 points and 7 rebounds, while Hilliard scored 15, grabbed 9 boards and dished out 6 assists. Arcidiacono kicked in 14 points for the Wildcats and Daniel Ochefu scored 6, but more importantly, was a presence down low, grabbing 11 rebounds, including 6 on the offensive glass.
While Villanova was able to pull out the close win thanks to a balanced lineup, the team continued to struggle from beyond the arc, making just 5 of 25 shots from deep. Improved long-range shooting will be a must as the Wildcats get into the meat of their schedule, but things are off to a nice start early.
Villanova will next face USC on Thanksgiving at 1 p.m.
By: Kyle Babcock
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