Villanova Wildcats

Villanova guard Josh Hart (3) shoots in front of Georgetown forward Isaac Copeland (11) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Villanova’s Jenkins and Hart to gauge NBA interest

Leave a comment

Fresh off a national championship, Villanova’s junior duo of Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins will submit their names to the NBA draft without immediately hiring an agent, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Joe Juliano.
The pair, who were integral in the Wildcats’ run to the title, have Villanova coach Jay Wright’s “blessing,” Juliano wrote.
Jenkins, the 6-foot-6 forward who hit the all-time classic game-winner against North Carolina, averaged 13.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game last season while shooting 45.9 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from 3-point range. Hart, a six-foot-five guard, put up 15.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game and shot 51.3 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from distance.
Neither are right now projected to be first-round picks, and it would seem that both are likely to go through the process and return to the Wildcats given their less-than-stellar draft projection, though it only takes one good workout to change scouts’ perceptions. Hart is definitely the more intriguing NBA prospect heading into this spring.

Still, at this point, it seems likely that the pair will return to help Villanova in its title defense.

Villanova’s Jenkins day-to-day with right knee sprain

Villanova forward Kris Jenkins (2) moves around Delaware forward Barnett Harris in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015, in Villanova, Pa. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)
Associated Press
Leave a comment

No. 17 Villanova’s win over Delaware Tuesday night came with a price, as junior forward Kris Jenkins injured his right knee during the first half of the 78-48 victory. Wednesday afternoon the school announced that an MRI as revealed that Jenkins suffered a sprain in the knee, and his status is day-to-day.

Jenkins is averaging 10.9 points and 3.0 rebounds per game on the season, and he’s emerged as a key player alongside senior Daniel Ochefu in the Villanova front court.

The Wildcats won’t play again until December 28 against Big Five rival Penn, but two days after that they open Big East play against No. 6 Xavier. The Musketeers don’t lack for depth in the front court, led by Jalen Reynolds and James Farr, so having a healthy Jenkins for that game is of high importance.

“We’re relieved and thrilled for Kris that this is not as serious as we feared it might be last night,” Wright said in the release. “Kris has worked extremely hard and is an important part of our front court. Our Team Physician, Dr. Mike Duncan, and Head Athletic Trainer, Jeff Pierce, will continue to evaluate Kris’ progress as we look forward to a busy week when we return from Christmas break.”

Foot injury sidelines Villanova freshman DiVincenzo

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
Leave a comment

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.

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

Josh Hart, Jordan Pric
Associated Press
2 Comments

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.

SUNDAY’S SNACKS: St. John’s upsets Syracuse, No. 9 Villanova rolls

Federico Mussini
Associated Press
1 Comment

GAME OF THE DAY Houston 105, LSU 98 (OT)

Rob Gray Jr. scored a career-high 31 and Chicken Knowles added 20 and nine rebounds as the Cougars beat the Tigers at home. This was the second test of the season for Kelvin Sampson’s team, which lost at Rhode Island earlier in the week.

LSU welcomed back guard Keith Hornsby and he scored 32 points, with three coming on the shot that forced overtime, and Tim Quarterman added 27, ten and six assists, but defending and rebounding were major issues for Johnny Jones’ team. Ben Simmons finished with 13 points, 14 rebounds and five assists before fouling out late in regulation.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

St. John’s 84, Syracuse 72: Chris Mullin picked up the biggest win of his tenure as head coach at his alma mater, with the Red Storm beating the Orange by 12 at the Garden. Federico Mussini scored 17 points to lead five Red Storm in double figures, with Amar Alibegovic (15 points, nine rebounds) and Durand Johnson (15, seven and four assists) among the other standouts for the home team. Syracuse struggled from deep, shooting 5-for-26 from three.

Rob Dauster has more about this game here.

Nebraska 70, Rhode Island 67: Shavon Shields scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds and freshman guard Glynn Watson scored 13 of his 17 in the second half at the Huskers came back to be the Rams in Lincoln. Jarvis Garrett and Kuran Iverson scored 15 apiece for URI, with Jared Terrell’s three-pointer that would have tied the game missing the mark in the final seconds. Three of the Rams’ four losses this season have been by three points or less.

STARRED

Mandell Thomas, Fordham: Thomas accounted for 27 points, seven rebounds and two assists in the Rams’ 92-55 win over Coppin State. Fordham’s now 9-1 on the season.

Obi Enechionyia, Temple: The Owls fell short against Saint Joseph’s but the sophomore forward played very well, scoring 25 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.

STRUGGLED

Malachi Richardson, Syracuse: Richardson missed all eleven of his three-point attempts in a loss at St. John’s, scoring 15 points on 4-for-20 shooting.

Kevin Puryear, Missouri: Puryear, who to this point in the season has been the Tigers’ best front court player, scored four points on 2-for-10 shooting in a blowout loss at No. 13 Arizona.

Chicago State’s three-point shooting: The Cougars were fighting an uphill battle against Northwestern, which comes as no surprise. But they shot 1-for-19 from three in the 77-35 defeat.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 4 Iowa State got off to a sluggish start but that didn’t keep them from taking care of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 78-64. Jameel McKay scored 18 points and Matt Thomas added 17 for the Cyclones, with the latter seeing more playing time with senior Naz Mitrou-Long still working his way back to full strength after undergoing hip surgery in the summer.
  • No. 9 Villanova rebounded from its first loss of the season in solid fashion, beating Big 5 rival La Salle 76-47. The Wildcats shot nearly 55 percent from the field, and Josh Hart led five players in double figures with 18 points.
  • No. 13 Arizona rolled to an 88-52 win over Missouri Sunday night, with Mark Tollefsen leading six in double figures with 17 points. The Tigers shot just 30.4 percent from the field and didn’t have a single player score in double figures.
  • Jevon Thomas, whose wayward behind the back pass led to his getting yanked from a loss to Virginia on Tuesday, rebounded with a 21-point effort as No. 14 West Virginia steamrolled ULM 100-58. Bob Huggins’ team scored 59 points in the first half and racked up 14 steals on the day.

OTHER NOTABLE OUTCOMES

  • Marc-Eddy Norelia scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds in FGCU’s 77-76 win over UMass. Rayjon Tucker’s three-point play with 10.6 seconds remaining proved to be the difference.
  • Bonzie Colson scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds in Notre Dame’s 81-61 win over Loyola-Chicago. In total the Fighting Irish had five players in double figures, with forward Matt Ryan scoring 14 off the bench.
  • Benji Bell scored 18 points off the bench to lead Florida State to a comfortable 75-58 win over Southeastern Louisiana. Freshman guard Malik Beasley added 16 for the Seminoles.
  • James Woodard scored 20 points and grabbed six rebounds as Tulsa won 70-61 at Missouri State.
  • South Dakota State moved to 9-1 on the season with an 86-68 win over UCSB. Deondre Parks led the way for the Jackrabbits with 23 points and five rebounds, and SDSU has now won 26 straight home games.
  • Saint Joseph’s had some issues with its defending of ball screens, but they managed to win at Temple 66-65 in overtime. DeAndre Bembry finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds and freshman Lamarr Kimble made some key plays down the stretch for the Hawks.
  • Bennie Boatwright scored 17 points and Jordan McLaughlin added 14, seven and four assists as USC beat Yale 68-56. Julian Jacobs sat out the game with tendonitis in his Achilles tendon.
  • BeeJay Anya scored a career-high 17 points as NC State took care of USF, 65-46. Cat Barber led the way offensively for the Wolfpack with 19 points.
  • Monmouth won its home opener, beating Wagner 73-54 with Micah Seaborn posting a line of 19 points, three rebounds and four assists to lead the way.
  • Josh Hawkinson scored 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as Washington State beat UTEP, 84-68, to move to 6-2 on the season.
  • Shannon Hale’s steal and breakaway dunk with 25.6 seconds remaining was the play Alabama needed to beat Clemson 51-50 on the road. Retin Obasohan scored 23 points and grabbed five rebounds to lead the way for Avery Johnson’s team.
  • Tre Demps went for 23 points, nine rebounds and four assists as Northwestern blew out Chicago State 77-35.
  • Jordan Wilson scored 20 points and Southern Miss transfer Dallas Anglin, seeing his first action of the season, added 19 off the bench as Northern Colorado beat Colorado State 73-64 for their first win over a Division I opponent this season.
  • Josh Adams scored 22 points and Jason McManamen added 15 as Wyoming rebounded from a loss to Southern earlier in the week with a 62-59 win at New Mexico State. The Cowboys limited the Aggies to 35 percent shooting.

Brunson scores 18 points, No. 8 Villanova beats Stanford

Jalen Brunson
Associated Press
Leave a comment

NEW YORK (AP) Villanova struggled to score and rebound on Thursday night.

The Wildcats’ defense was good enough to still get a win.

No. 8 Villanova compensated for offensive and rebounding struggles by forcing 23 turnovers in a 59-45 victory over Stanford in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tipoff.

“We played pretty good defense but couldn’t rebound with them,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “It was one of those nights we couldn’t make shots but hung in there defensively. Their rebounding was almost a difference maker but thank God it wasn’t.”

The Wildcats (5-0) advanced to face Georgia Tech in the championship game Friday.

Villanova won despite shooting 30.6 percent and getting outrebounded by a 55-35 margin against an opponent starting three players 6-foot-8 or taller. The Wildcats started one player taller than 6-6 but compensated for the size differential by holding Stanford to 26 percent from the floor.

“I didn’t think it would be this ugly on the boards but if we could have made a couple of shots it might not have been as ugly,” Wright said. “But I was proud the guys really grinded defensively.”

Freshman Jalen Brunson was one of few Wildcats not to struggle offensively and scored a career-high 18 points. Josh Hart added 10 points but was 4-for-13 shooting and combined with Ryan Arcidiacono to shoot 6 of 24, including 1 of 15 from 3-point range.

“I was doing what I always do,” Brunson said. “I try to play aggressive all the time. I saw they were backing off me a little bit so there is time for me to shoot and time for me to make other plays.”

Leading scorer Marcus Allen had 12 points but was 3 for 12 for Stanford (2-3). Dorian Pickens added 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Stanford lost its third straight by double digits and will face Arkansas in the consolation game. The Cardinal missed their first 15 shots of the game and their first eight attempts of the second half while falling behind by 16.

Stanford was within seven on a basket by Reid Travis with 6:34 remaining, but Villanova scored the next six points and finished the game with a 13-6 run.

“They’re a very good defensive team, they’re active and they made a lot of plays,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. “The thing we did most was we turned the ball over 23 times, so that was disappointing.”

TIP-INS

Villanova: Seven of Villanova’s school-record 33 wins came in New York last season. The Wildcats won twice in the Legends Classic at Barclays Center, beat St. John’s and Illinois during the regular season at Madison Square Garden and won three games there for the Big East Tournament championship. … Guards Arcidiacono and Hart combined to miss their first 11 3-point attempts. Arcidiacono came into the game shooting 44 percent from 3-point range while Hart entered at 45 percent. … Darryl Reynolds tied a career high with 19 minutes, getting most of those in the second half after Daniel Ochefu picked up his fourth foul.

Stanford: Thursday was Stanford’s 13th game in New York since 2011-12. Last year, the Cardinal appeared in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, beating UNLV and losing to eventual national champion Duke. … Stanford faced Villanova for the second time. The other meeting was a 96-70 Cardinal loss on Dec. 23, 1970. … Stanford missed 12 layups and tip-ins during the first half. … Allen hit his head on the court trying to deflect the ball on a layup by Hart. Dawkins said Allen was a little dizzy but didn’t think the junior would miss any time.

UP NEXT:

Villanova: Georgia Tech in the championship game on Friday.

Stanford: Arkansas in the consolation game on Friday.