Villanova Wildcats Plunder ESTU Buccaneers 86-51

On Tuesday night (November 17), the Villanova Wildcats went on a 22-0 run late in the first-half against the  Nebraska Cornhuskers to propel them to a 87-63 victory in the Gavitt Tipoff Games. Last night, Friday November 20th, the Wildcats  outdid themselves. Villanova broke an 11-11 tie, by scoring 25 straight points to take a commanding lead on the way to sinking the visiting Buccaneers of East Tennessee State University 86-51 at the Pavilion.
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Villanova used a stout defense and sizzling shooting to overwhelm the Buccaneers. ESTU went almost 9 minutes without scoring a basket. After T.J. Cromer tied the game at 11-11 at the 14:07 mark of the first-half, the Bucs did not score another bucket until 6:08 remained before the intermission. Villanova’s run started on a three- pointer by freshman Dante Divincenzo. It was quickly followed by treys from freshman Jalen Brunson and junior Josh Hart.

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The half concluded with the Wildcats well in front 49-27. Villanova hit 50% of their shots (18 of 36, including 7 of 20 from distance). Hart and senior Daniel Ochefu paced the Wildcats scoring with 10 each. The Wildcats limited ETSU to 29.6%  shooting (8 of 27 , including 3 0f 12 three point attempts).

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In the second-half, the Wildcats continued to stretch their lead by hitting over half of their field goal attempts (14 of 27 for 51.9%) and totally dominating the boards. Villanova’s lead reached 47 points (84-37) on a Kris Jenkins three-pointer capping a 13-0 run, and prompting a chant of “Mercy Rule!” from the Villanova student section, with just over 6 minutes left in the game. Overall, Villanova hit 32-63 shots (50.8%), which included 14 of 34 three-point attempts (41.2%).

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Five Wildcats scored in double figures – Kris Jenkins led the way with 17 points, Phil Booth, came off of the bench to score 16 points, Ochefu had his third consecutive double- double with 12 points and a game-high 16 rebounds, Ryan Arcidiacono, who sat out a good portion of the first half with two fouls, scored 11 points – all in the second half (4-5, including 3-3 three point shots). Arcidiacono also added 6 assists to no turnovers. Josh Hart contributed 10 points and 7 rebounds. Brunson just missed joining his 5 teammates in double figures as he chipped in with 9 points and had 5 assists and zero turnovers.

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With the victory, Villanova moved to 3-0 on the season. The Wildcats return to the Pavilion on Sunday afternoon to host the Akron Zips as part of the NIT Season Tipoff which culminates on Nov 26-27 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

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East Tennessee State’s record now stands at 2-1.The Buccaneers were held to 32.2% shooting, including a dismal 4 of 22 from long range  by the aggressive defensive effort of Villanova. T.J. Cromer was the lone player to score in double figures for the Bucs with 12 points. Villanova won the battle of the boards convincingly 44-32. The Buccaneers were also forced into 17 turnovers by the Wildcats. East Tennessee State next plays on November 22 when they plays at Georgia Tech in the NIT.

[Photo credit: D. Jacob Miller Photography]

[Article by Stephen Miller]

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