The question coming into the game was how well would Towson match up against Villanova, especially star Jerrelle Benimon, who has done everything for Towson in their first three games except drive the bus and coach the team.
It turned out that there was nothing to worry about. Villanova would cruise to a 78-44 win.
Villanova was off to a hot start once again, starting the game with a 14-2 run. Towson struggled to get anything going early. Plagued by turnovers and fouls, the Tigers were clearly frustrated as they could not get a rhythm going. A few passes ended up out of bounds and into the stands, and everyone from the Tiger bench to the floor was flustered. During the 3:38 run, Towson had four fouls and five turnovers in the short stretch. The Wildcats had great ball movement and the offensive effort was distributed across the floor. Everyone received a share of the ball and got involved. On defense, Villanova’s press was the difference maker and was too much for Towson to handle. The Tigers never led at any point during the game. Villanova took a 42-20 lead into the half. They forced 18 turnovers in the first half alone against a team only averaging about 12 turnovers per game this season. The Tigers would end up having 24 turnovers for the whole game and the Wildcats would capitalize, scoring 27 of their 78 points off of turnovers. Towson was held to a shooting percentage of 30.9% and struggled from the free throw line shooting 8 for 19. The three-point shooting was not any better either, as the Tigers shot a meager 11.8%.
Villanova followed the lead of James Bell, who scored at least 20 points for the second time this season. Bell had the highlight of the night once again when he had a putback slam dunk that rocked the Pavilion. JayVaughn Pinkston and Ryan Arcidiacono both had 12 points today. Darrun Hilliard added 10 points for Wildcats. Daniel Ochefu anchored the defensive front with eight rebounds and four blocks, including a monstrous swat on Towson’s Rafriel Guthrie. Towson’s Benimon was held to only 11 points after a performance where he lit up Temple for 32 points.
Shoutout to the Bench Mob, who got playing time for the second game in the row, much to the crowd’s delight.
The ‘Cats will host Delaware this Friday night in what will be a rivalry weekend in both basketball and football.
In Their Own Words…
Villanova Coach Jay Wright on Today’s Game: “Jerome Hairston gets three fouls in the first half and they lose their point guard and our press was effective. That got us out to a big lead at halftime and I think that was a big difference in the game. They’ve got a really good team. The one thing is the depth in the point guard slot. When Hairston got three fouls, I thought that was huge.”
James Bell on the putback dunk: “At halftime, Coach told me I didn’t have any offensive rebounds. He told me to make sure I’m going to the offensive glass and to make sure I’m crashing it. I had an opportunity to have an offensive rebound and I just finished it.”