AP

'Nova Finishes Sweep of Jays

Villanova advanced to 27-3 overall and 14-3 in the Big East with a 79-63 win over Creighton - a win which also clinched a fourth straight, out-right Big East regular season championship ...

#2 Villanova clinched an unprecedented, fourth straight, out-right Big East Conference regular season championship with a 79-63 win over #23 Creighton.  All six Wildcats that played more than 10 minutes scored nine or more points with Eric Paschall dropping in 19, Josh Hart 16, Kris Jenkins 15 and Mikal Bridges 11.  A torrid 6-9 shooting performance from beyond the arc and 25 total points from Marcus Foster kept the Blue Jays in the game deep into the second half.

Villanova used a combination of man-to-man and zone to confuse and disrupt the Creighton offense - resulting in 16 turnovers.  ‘Nova hustled on defense and scrapped for every loose ball.  On offense, Villanova was able to work the ball inside well to Paschall for a series of buckets in each half and got some inside scoring punch from Jenkins as well.  Aggressiveness off the bounce helped the Cats get to the free-throw line with frequency and rack up some points.

Goods:

  • Out-rebounded Creighton 33-28
  • +13 scoring advantage at the FT line
  • Held Justin Patton to 4 points, 2 made FGs and 0 FT attempts.
  • Shot 69.4% from two-point range
  • Scored 1.18 points per possession

Others:

  • Allowed 11-27 (40.7%) 3PFG
  • Shot 4-19 (21.1%) 3PFG
  • Didn’t demonstrate any ability to slow Hanson down in the paint

Players:

Josh Hart (34 Min, 16 Points, 7-11 FG, 1-3 3PFG, 1-5 FTs, 7 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 0 Turnovers, 0 Steals, 0 Blocks, 128 ORtg)  Oddly, Hart made only 1 of his last 9 FTs at the Pavilion.  The week off should be sufficient for him to forget all about it and move on.  Hart made some key buckets down the stretch and did a fantastic job on the defensive glass.  He became only the 11th Wildcat to surpass the 1,800 points score plateau and moved past Gary Buchanan on the all-time scoring list.  With 24 more rebounds, Hart will join John Pinone, Howard Porter and Ed Pinckney as the only Wildcats with 1,800+ points and 800+ rebounds.

Kris Jenkins (32 Min, 15 Points, 6-15 FG, 1-7 3PFG, 2-2 FT, 4 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 4 Steals, 1 Turnover, 107 ORtg)  On Senior night, Jenkins struggled shooting the trey but contributed in every other facet of the game.  He played good defense and did a nice job scoring from mid-range and with his back to the basket.  Jenkins was all over the passing lanes and diving on looses balls the way you expect a proud Senior to do during his last home game.  Solid effort and great leadership from Jenkins today!  Jenkins became the 42nd Wildcat to score 1,300 + career points.

Mikal Bridges (34 Min, 11 points, 3-3 FGs, 1-1 3PFG, 4-4 FTs, 8 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 4 Turnovers, 5 Steals, 0 Blocks, 125 ORtg)  This was a quality, bounce-back game for Bridges after a rough outing against Butler.  Other than the 1/4 A/TO ratio, Bridges was excellent.  He was selective with his shooting and perfect from the floor and the line.  He pushed the ball in transition when it made sense, was a force on the boards and played great defense.  

Jalen Brunson (28 Min, 9 Points, 2-7 FGs, 0-1 3PFG, 5-6 FTs, 2 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 2 Turnovers, 0 Steals, 96 ORtg)  Brunson had two personal fouls in the first half and it limited his minutes somewhat.  After absolutely tearing up the Creighton defense in the first meeting, Brunson didn’t shoot it as efficiently in this game but he did a nice job running the point.

Eric Paschall (33 Min, 19 Points, 8-12 FGs, 0-3 3PFG, 3-3 FT, 6 Rebounds, 0 Assists, 2 Turnovers, 1 Steal, 0 Block, 128 ORtg)  This was a career-high scoring night for Paschall in a Villanova uniform.  He was a force in the paint using a combination of powerful dunks and strong low-post moves to score very efficiently in the paint.  He didn’t find success when he ventured outside to shoot threes but his inside scoring was just what the doctor ordered for the Villanova offense.  Additionally, he played well on the defensive end and rebounded with strength and power.

Donte DiVincenzo (29 Min, 9 Points, 3-7 FG, 1-4 3PFG, 2-2 FT, 4 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 1 Turnovers, 1 Steal, 0 Block, 111 ORtg)  DiVincenzo played a solid game off the bench.  He provided some scoring punch, handled the ball well and used his leaping ability to make a difference in the rebounding department.  His defense was good and his energy level high.

Dylan Painter (10 Min, 0 Points, 0-0 FG, 2 Rebounds, 0 TO)  Painter was able to steal ten critical bench minutes for ‘Nova.  He competed on the glass and provided some quality screens on offense.  His low-post defense needs work and he isn’t able to chase guys on the perimeter yet defensively but at this point, the Cats need him to simply hold his own for 5 or 10 to give other guys a breather.

Villanova (#2 AP, 27-3 overall, 14-3 Big East) now has a one week break prior to facing Georgetown in D.C. in the final game of the Big East regular season for both teams.

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