The Wildcats started the season 1-0 with a dominant performance over Lafayette. 'Nova played hard-nosed basketball on both ends of the court from the tip. Nine minutes into the new season, Villanova was up 25-2 and it was readily apparent that the remainder of the game was going to be a live practice in preparation for Monday's game at Purdue.
The Leopards appeared shaken - firing up numerous airballs and not really "settling in" to the speed of the game until sometime in the second half. The Cats were jumping on loose balls (Jalen Brunson in particular), diving over tables (Kris Jenkins) and blazing by defenders off the bounce to punish the rim (Josh Hart) ... the effort was tremendous and Lafayette was obviously over-matched.
Villanova started Jalen Brunson, Phil Booth, Josh Hart, Kris Jenkins and Darryl Reynolds. Eric Paschall, Mikal Bridges, and Donte DiVincenzo were the primary bench guys in the rotation. Tim Delaney and Dylan Painter saw late action in the blow-out and all the walk-ons played the closing minute and change (successfully maintaining the 40 point lead and holding Lafayette under 50 points).
- Torrid first half: 49-17 lead at intermission
- +16 points off turnovers
- +16 points in the paint
- +17 bench points
- Dominated the glass
- Balanced scoring
- Team rebounding effort - 5 players not named Josh Hart had 7 or more rebounds
- Shot 36.6% from three-point range and 69.2% from two
- Offense was very 3-ball oriented - a program record 41 threes were attempted
- 7-12 (58.3%) Free Throw shooting
- 39-31 second-half score (eventually, Lafayette had to hit some of the open three-pointers)
Player by Player:
Jalen Brunson: 176 ORtg, 17 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 0 turnovers. Brunson played great basketball. He made good decisions, took good shots, stroked the deep ball well and really led by example. He dove on loose balls and played with passion, grit and smarts.
Phil Booth: 75 ORtg, 7 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists and 2 turnovers. He logged a team high 28 minutes (tied with Jenkins). Booth's jump-shooting was a bit sloppy in this game - especially from three-point range. He jumped significantly forward and or sideways on several of his jumpers instead of taking his normal, in-rhythm, square-to-the-basket jumper. In terms of his running the point, Booth did a decent job. His defense was a positive.
Josh Hart: 102 ORtg, 13 points on 5-5 two-pointers and 1-6 three-pointers. Hart was very aggressive curling around screens and darting to the rim to elevate and score. He struggled at the FT line (0-3) and seemed to be popping his deep shot instead of having a smooth release ... his release finally looked correct on a 2nd half three-pointer that he nailed from the left wing. His release point may have been a little off.
Kris Jenkins: 124 ORtg, 16 points, 4-10 three-pointers, 5 boards, 2 blocks, 1 steal, 1 assist and 0 turnovers. Jenkins played a solid all-around game. He exhibited leadership, and showed off the purity of his long-range jumper. He missed a couple of his baseline, turn-around jump-shot attempts but overall made good offensive decisions.
Darryl Reynolds: Rebounded and defended well. Didn't get in the flow of the offense much at all.
Eric Paschall: Drained a trey, hammered home a dunk and had Lafayette players who didn't realize what a rock-solid build he has bouncing off of him and feeling the pain of the collision. Paschall was active defensively, scored 7 points with a 121 ORtg and grabbed 7 rebounds. Solid first outing in a 'Nova uniform.
Mikal Bridges: So long, so sneaky off the bounce with his ability to get to the rim and finish. He picked up right where he left off last season - making 4-5 two-pointers and 2-4 three-pointers on the way to 16 points with a 165 ORtg. Bridges corralled 8 rebounds and played strong defense as well. To think he did all this in 20 minutes - wow.
Donte DiVincenzo: Had a nice put-back tip-in, a mid-range J and a quick-trigger, second half three-ball from the left wing. DiVincenzo looked pretty comfortable running the 1 for some minutes in the second half too. He is a physical and active defender. 7 points, 5 boards, 2 assists and 2 turnovers.
Tim Delaney: Played 6 minutes, drained a three-ball from the left corner and grabbed one board. Not a bad first showing for Delaney.
Dylan Painter: Knocked down 2 FTs but just missed canning his lone FG attempt - a three-ball from the right wing. Painter also grabbed one rebound.
Denny Grace: Played with passion. Very vocal. Made a couple of nice hustle plays in his 2 minutes of PT. One rebound.
Tom Leibig: He got in the boxscore by hauling in one rebound - missed the front-end of a one-and-one when he had the opportunity to score his first career points.
Matt Kennedy: A one minute run of quality positional defense.
The Cats next game is Monday night (14 Nov) at Purdue (7:00 PM on the B10 Network)