Villanova advanced to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament with a 76-56 win over Mount St. Mary’s this evening. The Cats played a ragged first half on both ends of the floor but fought back to grab a one point lead at intermission of 30-29. The second half was a different story as Villanova dominated 46-27 with improved play on both offense and defense.
Donte DiVincenzo, playing in the first NCAA Tournament of his career, was player of the game for ‘Nova with 21 points, 13 rebounds and a mega-watt of energy. Brunson, Bridges, Hart and Paschall all scored in double-figures for Villanova and Kris Jenkins struggled from the floor (2-13) while chipping in seven points.
The Mount did a nice job in the first half of playing with high energy and creating mis-matches for their smaller, quicker guards by forcing switches and then exploiting the one-on-one match-ups they wanted. Miles Wilson had a strong first half for the Mount but the Cats adjusted and defended him a bit better in the closing twenty minutes. One of the biggest factors in the win for Villanova was the advantage on the glass - a 43-27 edge gave the Cats the extra possessions and shots they needed to overcome periods of poor shooting.
- Despite the cold shooting to open the game, ‘Nova shot 58.1% 2PFG, 35.3% 3PFG, and 72.7% FT
- The 43-27 advantage on the glass was HUGE
- 14 Assists on 31 made baskets after seemingly playing too much one-on-one offense in the first half
- Held MSM to 23.8% 3PFG and 44.4% 2PFG
- 1.21 points per possession on offense
- Held MSM to 0.89 points per possession
- Only created 9 MSM turnovers
- The spotty first-half performance
- Hart’s recent FT shooting issues
- Jenkins’ recent 3PFG shooting issues
- Kris Jenkins and Josh Hart surpassed Ryan Arcidiacono for most career games played in a Villanova uniform
- Jay Wright passed Rollie Massimino for most career NCAA Coaching Victories for a Villanova Coach (Wright is 21-10 as ‘Nova Head Coach in NCAA games)
- Villanova became only the 8th team in NCAA History to win 100 games over a three-year span
Josh Hart (29 Min, 11 Points, 5-9 FG, 1-2 3PFG, 0-2 FTs, 5 Rebounds, 0 Assists, 2 Turnovers, 2 Steals, 1 Blocks, 95 ORtg) Hart had some foul problems in the first half that limited his minutes and effectiveness. He had a nice scoring burst in a second half stretch that helped ‘Nova get a working lead. His defense and rebounding were not up to his standard but not glaring weaknesses either. Hart surpassed the 1,900 career scoring plateau (10th Wildcat to do so). He joins Howard Porter and John Pinone as the only Villanova players with 1,900+ career points and 800+ career rebounds. Villanova will need more from the National POY candidate to advance to the Sweet Sixteen on Saturday.
Kris Jenkins (33 Min, 7 Points, 2-13 FG, 0-6 3PFG, 3-4 FT, 5 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 0 Steals, 2 Turnovers, 0 Blocks, 71 ORtg) Jenkins couldn’t find his shooting touch in this game - especially from beyond the arc. He showed the mental fortitude to contribute in other aspects of the game and stay focused on defense. The good thing is that his reputation as a deep shooter demands attention and he can force teams to spread the floor at this stage in his career without having to knock down shots. Jenkins has had some good bounce-back games coming off poor shooting performances this season. To extend his career he will need to improve his offensive efficiency, pronto.
Mikal Bridges (31 Min, 13 points, 4-7 FG, 2-4 3PFG, 3-3 FT, 3 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 2 Blocks, 1 Steal, 1 Turnover, 159 ORtg) Bridges played well on both ends of the court after shaking off the early doldrums that seemed to have the entire ‘Nova team struggling out of the gate. His three-point stroke looked solid and he used his length to make a difference on defense. Struggles a bit when he tries to do too much off the bounce but when he plays within himself he is super-efficient on offense.
Jalen Brunson (29 Min, 14 Points, 7-11 FGs, 0-1 3PFG, 0-0 FTs, 5 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 2 Turnovers, 0 Steals, 127 ORtg) Brunson did an excellent job of finding ways to get the team a bucket when buckets seemed hard to find. He made some nice drives to the cup, posted up and hit some pull-up jumpers as well. His heady decision-making was important to the cause and will be relied on even more heavily on Saturday.
Darryl Reynolds (16 Min, 0 Points, 0-0 FG, 6 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 0 Turnover, 0 Steals, 0 Blocks, 215 ORtg) He provided some excellent second-half defense and really got after it with deflections, hustle and work on the boards. His playing only 16 minutes was partly due to foul trouble and perhaps somewhat due to lingering aspects of his rib injury.
Eric Paschall (24 Min, 10 Points, 4-5 FGs, 0-0 3PFG, 2-2 FT, 1 Rebound, 0 Assists, 1 Turnover, 1 Steal, 0 Blocks, 151 ORtg) His shot selection was a positive, He made some impressive, athletic moves and dunked / finished with authority at the rim. Though he wasn’t a huge factor on the glass and he had trouble guarding smaller, quicker players on switches, Paschall made some key contributions to this W.
Donte DiVincenzo (37 Min, 21 Points, 9-15 FG, 3-4 3PFG, 1-2 FT, 13 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 4 Turnovers, 1 Steal, 0 Blocks, 122 ORtg) With Hart in foul trouble and on the bench in the first half and with Jenkins struggling to make shots, Villanova needed the bench to step up and Paschall and DiVincenzo answered the bell. Donte was flying around the court all game making plays. He rebounded like a banshee and found ways to get the ball in the cup on offense. Though he made a couple of strange turnovers, he made up for that with a ton of positive plays. A 21 point, 13 rebound double-double is an impressive first-ever NCAA Tournament game.
Dylan Painter (1 Min) Grabbed a board during a one minute run to end the game.
Villanova faces Wisconsin Saturday in the Round of 32.