With students from both schools on winter break, the crowd was smaller than usual (for a Villanova home game) at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday night. However, it did not stop the Villanova Wildcats as they took care of business, dispatching the Delaware Blue Hens 78-59. Villanova, now 9 -1 on the season, led from start to finish, jumping out to a 7-0 lead (and then a 13-4 lead). The Wildcats were in control the entire game. The Blue Hens, in their first ever game at the Wells Fargo Center, rallied to make it a 14-13 game at the 9:40 mark of the first half. However, Villanova freshman James Bell stepped up for the Wildcats and scored 8 straight points. Bell first converted two foul shots and then banged home two three-pointers, helping the Wildcats extend the lead to 22-17. Later, Bell hit a driving layup and the Cats led the Blue Hens by ten, 30-20. The half ended with Villanova on top 34-24.
During the first half, Delaware shot a dismal 6 of 25 from the field, and only 1 for 10 on three-point attempts. They did, however, hit a perfect 11 for 11 from the charity stripe. The Wildcats were sparked by Bell, who sat out a number of games recovering from surgery to both legs at the beginning of the season, and Corey Fisher, who also scored 10 points.
In the second half, the Wildcats built their lead to 19 points, 53-34, after scoring 14 straight points. Delaware showed a little life going on a 12-1 run to make it a 54-46 game on an Alphonso Dawson free throw, the eighteenth straight free throw made by the Blue Hens. Dawson then missed the second free throw and Maaalik Wayns, who did not score in the first half, drained a three pointer to put an end to the Blue Hens momentum.
The Wildcats began to rebuild their lead and took a seventeen point edge, 66-49, after Delaware Coach Monte Ross was assessed a technical foul. In total, four technicals were handed out during the game; three on Delaware, including two on Josh Brinkley, and one on Villanova’s Mouphtaou Yarou. Yarou did not return to the game after he was hit with a technical at the 11:00 minute mark of the second half.
For the victorious Wildcats, Fisher led the way with 21 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds. Fisher also committed 5 of the Wildcats 17 turnovers. Also scoring in double figures for Villanova were Bell with 10 (all in the first half ), Wayns with 14 (all in the second half), and Corey Stokes with 10, including a perfect 8 for 8 from the foul line. For Delaware, Jawan Carter, who formerly played for St. Joe’s, had 14, but shot only 2 for 11 from the field. Jamelle Hagins contributed 12 points and 8 boards for the Blue Hens. Delaware’s record fell to 5-3 as a result of the loss.
Before the game started, Coach Jay Wright presented Corey Stokes with a basketball to celebrate Stokes becoming the 52nd Wildcat player to score over a 1,000 points in his career. Stokes reached that plateau when he scored a career high 34 against Penn.
Villanova next plays at Monmouth on December 22nd and Delaware plays at home against the Penn Quakers the same evening.
The full photo slide-show of tonight’s game as well as our video of Villanova’s post-game press conference can be found below: