#14 Villanova Bests UPENN 77-54

Villanova moved to 8-0 on the season with a wire-to-wire win over the University of Pennsylvania on Wednesday night, December 4th at the Pavilion. It was the first Big Five contest of the year for both teams. Villanova, playing in its first game after winning the championship of the ‘Battle 4 Atlantis’ in the Bahamas, jumped out to an 11-0 lead in the early minutes of the game with James Bell and Darrun Hilliard scoring the first four baskets (including three treys). The lead ballooned to 22 points (31-9) when JayVaughn Pinkston converted two foul shots with 8:06 left in the first half. The Quakers then went on a 15-4 spurt, led by Miles Cartwright who hit four triples, to cut the Wildcats lead to 35-24. The half ended with the Wildcats holding a comfortable 46-28 margin.

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The second half started with Penn going on an 11-2 run to make it 48-39 at the 10:49 mark. To this point in the second half, the Wildcats were shooting a rancid 0-14 from the field, including 0-7 from deep. It was not until there were under 10 minutes left in the second half that Hilliard scored the Wildcats first field goal to put Villanova up 52-41. Penn subsequently cut Villanova’s lead to 56-48 on a bucket by Julian Harrell. A few minutes later Pinkston scored his only field goal of the game to push the lead back to a dozen points, 60-48. In the last six minutes of the game, the Wildcats outscored the Quakers 17-6 to maintain their unbeaten record.

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Overall, Villanova improved to 8-0, 1-0 in the Big Five. Penn fell to 2-5, 0-1 in the Big Five. Villanova was paced by Hilliard with 19 points; Bell added 14 points. Pinkston (13) and Dylan Ennis (11) also scored in double figures for the Cats. Bell was Villanova’s leading rebounder with 8, followed closely by Pinkston with 7 boards. For the game, Penn out-rebounded Villanova 42-40. Fran Dougherty was the game’s leading rebounder with 9. Miles Cartwright led the Quakers in scoring with 17 (14 in the opening twenty minutes). Darien Nelson-Henry who scored 12 points, was the only other Quaker to score in double figures.

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Villanova hit 18 of 52 field-goal attempts (34.6%). In the second half, the Wildcats shot a frigid 6 of 23 (26.1%). After hitting 8 of 18 three point attempts in the first-half (44.4%), the Wildcats hit only 2 of their 11 three-point shots in the second half (18.2%). Penn hit 21 of 62 field goal tries(33.3%), and 6 of 15 three-point shots (40.0%).

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Villanova returns to action on Saturday, December 7th at 6pm when they head to Hawk Hill to play the St. Joseph’s Hawks in the annual “Holy War” game. St. Joe’s was defeated by Temple last night at the Liacouras Center. Penn plays the same night entertaining Wagner at 7pm in the Palestra.

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Also of note for Wildcat fans: Daniel Ochefu was replaced in the starting line-up by Tony Chennault for unspecified academic violations. Several former Villanova players were in attendance for the game including Jonathan Haines, Alvin Williams, Mark Plansky, and Mouphtaou Yarou.

[Photo credit: D. Jacob Miller Photography]

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