Junior guard Dylan Ennis finished with 10 points and 5 rebounds on the night, while his backcourt mate, junior guard Ryan Arcidiacono, finished with 5 points and 3 assists. It was a quiet night for Arcidiacono, who was in foul trouble for much of the game, but he was incredibly active on defense, leading the full court press and forcing the Hawks guards to turn the ball over early and often.
In fact, the full court press was really working for the Wildcats. They finished with 26 points off of turnovers on the game.
Coming off of a much closer than anticipated win against Lehigh, Jay Wright knew that his team had some things to improve on during the course of this game. But Wright knew that the Lehigh game was a thing of the past. The Wildcats had to move forward and learn from their errors.
"It doesn't matter what we did in the game before, the next game is always the most important game to us," said Wright after the game
The Wildcats surely moved on, as they were able to come out strong and aggressive on defense to coast to an early lead. After the first twenty minutes were up, Villanova found themselves with a 45-14 lead.
"We played a really good first half. When you come in here and then we play like that and the crowd is like that in the first half, that's tough for an opponent," Jay Wright stated when asked about the first half.
The huge advantage on the scoreboard allowed the Wildcats to try a few different things in the second half that they felt could be improved upon, like their half court defense.
"I think the first half made the difference in the game, and in the second half we were able to work on our half court defense, and you could see that they got the ball inside a lot. We got some work to do in that area," said Wright when asked about what a strong first half meant for the Wildcats.
Although they had to work on their half court defense, their full court trap defense was swarming and anything that went near the sidelines either resulted in a turnover for the Hawks or forced them to get a less than desirable look at the hoop.
One thing I noticed that they struggled with, and the same was true against Lehigh, was their three point shooting. They went 8-33 from downtown on Friday, and only 7-21 tonight. They have guys who are capable shooters, like Darrun Hilliard, Ryan Arcidiacono, Dylan Ennis, and Kris Jenkins, but they seem to be in a slump right now. This kind of thing will happen at times during the season, and it is very unlikely that these results remain the same for much longer. The looks are there, but the Wildcats just have to start hitting them.
Overall it was a great night to be a Wildcat. It was an aggressive attack from a balanced team. The number 12 ranked team nationally is off to a 2-0 start, and will only get even better once their shots start falling. The half court defense can potentially become a problem down the road, but it seems that Jay Wright is well aware of the issue and should be able to take care of it.
By: Dan Goggin
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