The 5th ranked Villanova Wildcats went over the century mark in routing the visiting Nicholls State Colonels 113-77 on Tuesday night, November 14th at the Wells Fargo Center. The (2-0) Wildcats also set a school record by blocking 13 shots, including 3 in one defensive sequence. Villanova ran out to a 22-9 lead and never looked back as they went about their business of dismantling the overmatched Colonels, out of the Southland Conference.
Mikal Bridges showed the crowd why he is a likely first-round NBA draftee, by leading the Wildcats onslaught. Bridges set career highs with 23 points, 5 steals, and 4 blocks, including consecutive rejections of Roddy Peters in the paint. He was aided and abetted by teammates Donte DiVincenzo who scored 20 points, and Jalen Brunson with 17 points and five assists. Three other Wildcats scored in double figures – Phil Booth with 12, Eric Paschall with 11, and freshman Collin Gillespie added 10 points and 5 assists. Omari Spellman had 9 points and 4 blocks.
Villanova shot 58% from the field, a big improvement from their first game against Columbia. Overall, Villanova hit 42 of 73 field goal attempts (57.5%), including 13 of 30 from distance (43.3%). Villanova had 28 assists against 15 turnovers. Nicholls State was limited to 27 of 70 shooting from the field (38.6 %), including 9 of 24 from three-point range (37.5%). Nicholls State had 15 assists and turned the ball over 16 times.Villanova won the rebounding battle by a margin of 44-24.
Zaquavian Smith scored a game-high 25 points for the (1-1) Colonels. Peters chipped in 17. In referencing Villanova, Nicholls State Coach Richie Riley said, “I can’t imagine many teams in the country better than them”.
Villanova Coach Jay Wright was pleased with the defensive effort from his team, saying, “We have the potential to be a very good defensive team. I think you saw some of that tonight. It was more athleticism tonight than defensive technique.” In addition to the 13 blocks, Villanova forced 16 turnovers and recorded 8 steals.
Villanova returns to action against the Lafayette Leopards in Allentown, Pennsylvania on Friday, November 17. The Wildcats will then travel to the Bahamas for three games beginning with a contest against Western Kentucky on Wednesday afternoon on November 22 as they look to win their 4th straight November tournament in as many years.
[Photos by Michael Green Photography]
[Article by Stephen Miller]
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