Big East

Villanova guard Donte DiVincenzo (10) takes a shot past Nebraska forward Nick Fuller (23) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, in Villanova, Pa. Villanova won 87-63. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)
Associated Press

Foot injury sidelines Villanova freshman DiVincenzo

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Villanova has one of the deeper backcourt rotations in the country, but Friday morning they announced that they’ll be a man short in this area for the next four to six weeks.

6-foot-6 freshman guard Donte DiVincenzo suffered a broken fifth metatarsal in his right foot, and with the school’s timeline he isn’t expected back until mid-January at the earliest. DiVincenzo missed the Wildcats’ home win over La Salle on Sunday as a result of the injury.

The freshman from Delaware is averaging just over nine minutes per game for Villanova, which relies upon the likes of Ryan Arcidiacono, Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart, Phil Booth and Mikal Bridges for their majority of the minutes on the perimeter. All five of those guards play at least 19 minutes per game with Hart leading the way at 30.4 mpg, so it’s likely that DiVincenzo’s minutes get spread amongst this quintet moving forward.

VIDEO: Monmouth ‘Bench Mob’ at it again in win over Georgetown

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While the antics of the Monmouth Bench Mob have certainly been entertaining to this point in the season, it’s important to realize that the players these reserves are celebrating are pretty doggone good. King Rice’s team added another win over a power conference opponent to its résumé as they won 83-68 at Georgetown Tuesday night.

The Hawks, who have also beaten UCLA, Notre Dame and USC, outplayed the Hoyas from the start as they picked up their first-ever win over a Big East opponent (1-30). Je’lon Hornbeak lead a balanced effort with 18 points as Monmouth shot 10-for-20 from three and 31-for-37 from the foul line. Monmouth didn’t shoot an impressive percentage from the field overall (42.9 percent), but their ability to attack Georgetown off the dribble resulted in numerous opportunities from three by way of using the dribble drive to kick the ball out to open shooters.

With options such as Hornbeak, Justin Robinson, Micah Seaborn and Deon Jones, the Hawks have multiple players capable of hurting teams off the bounce, and that’s what happened to Georgetown. The Hoyas began the game with subpar energy, which is a bit surprising given Monmouth’s credentials to this point in the season, and the visitors too advantage. By the time Georgetown was fully engaged in the game it was too late, with Monmouth doing a solid job on the defensive end.

Georgetown shot just 32.8 percent from the field and 7-for-30 from three, and outside of freshman Jessie Govan (14 points, four rebounds) they didn’t get much offensively from their big men. Monmouth has players in the post, but that was one aspect of the matchup where the Hoyas should have been able to grab the advantage. Instead they struggled, with Bradley Hayes scoring just one point and Marcus Derrickson three.

King Rice’s veteran team plays without fear and doesn’t back down from anyone, which is a big reason why they’re off to a 7-3 start and have one of the better résumés in college basketball to this point in the season. Nothing wrong with taking joy in the exploits of the players at the end of the bench, but it’s important to understand that Monmouth is for real.

Could the Hawks be an at-large candidate come March? That remains to be seen as there’s a lot of basketball to be played, but there’s no overlooking what they’ve been able to accomplish to this point.

Butler’s Chris Holtmann gets students free coffee during final exams

Chris Holtmann
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The college basketball schedule is light this week thanks to many schools having to navigate final exams, and this can be a stressful time. So for those wishing to either relax or refuel for more studying, what’s better than a free drink from a local coffeeshop (those “adult” beverages may not help with studying)?

That’s what Butler students who took up head coach Chris Holtmann on his offer of a free drink from Starbucks received Monday. Holtmann sent out the word via his Twitter account on Monday, and numerous students took him up on his offer that afternoon. And he seemed a bit surprised by just how many students made the trek.

Everyone likes free stuff, most especially college students. Good luck to everyone going through final exams this week.

No. 9 Villanova uses 3-point shooting to beat La Salle 76-47

Josh Hart, Jordan Pric
Associated Press
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VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) Josh Hart scored 18 points and Ryan Arcidiacono had 14 to lead No. 9 Villanova past La Salle 76-47 on Sunday.

The Wildcats (8-1) bounced back from their first loss of the season, 78-55 to No. 7 Oklahoma on Monday. They hit 13 3-pointers and had 24 assists on 28 baskets and again flexed their muscle as the class of Philadelphia basketball.

The Wildcats have won 12 straight games in the Big 5, round-robin play among five Philadelphia Division I basketball teams that dates to 1955.

Hart connected on two straight 3s midway through the first half to open a double-digit lead, and Villanova dominated from there.

The Wildcats missed 28 of 32 3-pointers against Oklahoma. They had made 11 of 19 when they doubled up the Explorers 66-33 midway through the second half.

Villanova holds the city series record with 14 straight victories from 2004-05 to 2007-08. The Explorers beat the Wildcats three seasons ago, the year they reached the Sweet 16.

La Salle hasn’t made the postseason since that remarkable run and played like a team on the brink of extending that streak another season.

Jordan Price, who entered third in the nation in scoring at 25.9 points per game, led the Explorers with 16 points on 6-of-17 shooting.

The Wildcats reached 70 points with 6:30 left and have won 36 consecutive games when scoring at least that many.

Hart, Jalen Brunson and Arcidiacono opened the second half with 3-pointers that turned a comfortable lead into a full-blown rout. Brunson, the highly touted freshman guard, scored 13 points.

Without much reason for sustained excitement, Daniel Ochefu snapped the crowd out of a funk with three rim-shaking dunks. He also grabbed 10 rebounds.

Inside or outside, the Explorers were no match for a Villanova team again stamped the Big East favorite.

TIP-INS

La Salle: The Explorers have made a 3-pointer in 786 straight games, the 13th-longest streak in the nation. … La Salle has lost three straight games.

Villanova: F Kris Jenkins was benched for a minor academic infraction. Phil Booth got the start. Jenkins scored three points and Booth had 10. … The Wildcats had 13 assists on 14 baskets in the first half. … Coach Jay Wright emptied the bench with 2:48 left.

UP NEXT

La Salle returns from a long break for exams Dec. 22 at the Palestra against Miami.

Villanova plays Saturday at No. 10 Virginia.

Report: St. John’s freshman LoVett could be eligible this season

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When the NCAA declared St. John’s freshman Marcus LoVett Jr. a partial qualifier last month, head coach Chris Mullin lost his lone true point guard for the 2015-16 season. However, according to a report the freshman may be able to take the floor this season for the Red Storm.

Wednesday it was reported by the New York Post that there’s a chance that LoVett could be cleared for competition at the end of the current semester. The school, LoVett and the NCAA Eligibility Center have maintained dialogue on the situation, which included the school advising LoVett and his family to consult with “appropriate legal counsel” when the initial ruling was made.

Per the report, should LoVett put together a good fall semester in the classroom he’d be able to join his teammates in game action beginning with the Red Storm’s game against Incarnate Word December 18.

Without LoVett the Red Storm have relied on fellow freshman Federico Mussini to run the point. Mussini, who’s playing more than 34 minutes per game, leads the team in scoring (14.4 ppg) and is second in assists (2.9 apg) but has tallied more assists (23) than turnovers (26) through the first eight games. Senior guard Felix Balamou currently leads the team with an average of 3.6 assists per game, with freshman Malik Ellison (2.5 apg) currently out with a foot injury.

VIDEO: No. 23 Providence beats Rhode Island on Bentil tip-in

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Saturday night in-state rivals No. 23 Providence and Rhode Island met in Kingston, and as many expected the game did not disappoint. The Friars got off to a quick start only to see the Rams respond with a 20-4 run, and from that point onward the two Ocean State teams traded punches throughout in a game that was decided as time expired by Providence forward Ben Bentil.

Following a Jared Terrell jumper with 6.2 seconds remaining Providence point guard raced up the court, releasing a shot attempt with enough time to allow Bentil to tip in the miss just before time expired. The game-winner capped a 23-point, eight-rebound night for Bentil, who to this point in the season has not only been one of the Big East’s most improved players but one of the most improved players in the country as a whole.

Terrell led four Rams in double figures with 19 points.

Video credit: ESPN