Villanova Wildcats survive Bucknell Bison’s charge to win 72-65

Published On November 21, 2014 | Sports

The 12th ranked Villanova Wildcats went on a 9-0 run in the last 1:40 to beat the Bucknell Bison 72-65 in a regional round game of the 2014 Progressive Legends Classic on Thursday night at the Pavilion. With 1:49 left in the game, Chris Hass, the game’s leading scorer with 32 points, hit a three-point shot to put Bucknell in the lead 65-63. Villanova tied the game at 65-65 when Ryan Arcidiacono converted two foul shots (the 6th tie of the second half). In the first-half, Villanova never trailed. Daniel Ochefu broke the deadlock when he hit one of two foul shots with under a minute to play, 66-65. This was the fourth, and last, lead change in the game. The Clincher came when Darrun Hilliard stole an errant Bison pass and drove the length of the court to lay it in and give the Wildcats breathing room 70-65. Dylan Ennis finished off the scoring by hitting two foul shots with seconds to go, to give the 3-0 Wildcats a hard fought win over the 1-2 Bison, to the relief of the Nova Nation.

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Villanova scored the first 9 points of the game. The Wildcats stretched their lead to 20-6, with a strong defensive effort that resulted in 10 Bucknell turnovers at the 8:58 mark of the first-half. Villanova maintained a double digit lead throughout most of the first-half. It wasn’t until the final seconds of the half that Bucknell cut the lead to 33-26 on the strength of consecutive three-pointers by Hass and J.C. Show. Bucknell out-rebounded and out-shot Villanova in the half, but the Wildcats managed to score 14 points off of 13 Bucknell turnovers to take a 7 point edge to he locker room.

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Villanova had 4 double-figure scorers in the game. Ennis scored 16 to lead the team,  Arcidiacono had 15 points, Ochefu had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds (he also added 3 key blocks), and Darrun Hilliard added 10 points. The Wildcats shot 21-54 from the field (38.9%), only 5 of 22 three-point shots (22.7%), and hit 25-36 from the charity stripe (69.4%). Bucknell out-rebounded Villanova 38-31. Villanova’s defense in the opening ten minutes of the game and in the last 1:40 of the game was the key to the win.

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For Bucknell, Hass played an outstanding game. He scored 32 points on 9-12 shooting from the field, including 3 of 6 three-point attempts. In addition, he hit 11-12 foul shot attempts. D.J. MacLeay was the the Bison’s and game’s leading rebounder with 11. Stephen Brown, a freshman point guard, also played a very strong game for the Bison. Bucknell made 24-51 field goals, including 5 of 14 from distance. The Bison converted 12 of 18 free throw shots. Turnovers – 21 in all – proved to be the Bison’s Achilles heel.

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Villanova next will play the 15th ranked Virginia Commonwealth Rams at the Barclay Center at 7pm on Monday night, November 24th in the Championship rounds of the Legends Classic. The game will be nationally televised on  ESPN 2.  Bucknell returns home to host Mt. St. Mary’s on November 22nd.

[Photo credit: D. Jacob Miller Photography]

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