The Battle 4 Atlantis tournament kicked off with the Wildcats facing off against the USC Trojans. The tournament which takes place at Paradise Island, Bahamas, features eight teams from all over the country. This island getaway destination was for business, not leisure. Villanova got right down to work, winning their first game 94-79.
USC started the game off a little slow, turning the ball over ten times. Six of which, happened within the first few minutes of the game. On the other hand, Villanova was off to a quick start. Ryan Arcidiacono and Darrun Hilliard hit back-to-back three pointers to start it up for the Wildcats. Arcidacono would finish with 14 points and 6 assists, all of his scoring would come from the first half alone. Hilliard would finish with 16 points for the day. James Bell had the highlight of the game, putting in an alley-oop dunk with the feed from Arcidiacono. The Wildcats never trailed once during the game, but the Trojans would not go down quietly. During the first half when it seemed that Villanova was pulling away, USC started fighting back and closed the gap to a few points. The shooting of Trojans’ Pe’Shon Howard kept them in the game during the first half. He had 16 points in the first half, including three buckets from beyond the arc. Dylan Ennis made his much anticipated season debut after being sidelined due to injury. In the first half, he contributed 12 points off the bench. He shot 4 for 5 in the floor, including a 75% three point shooting percentage. The Wildcats would get some separation and take a 48-37 lead into halftime.
During the second half the Wildcats held onto the double digit lead for most of the way. USC was able to cut the lead down to nine for a brief time via an Omar Oraby layup with 11:42 remaining. However, the Wildcats put the lead back to double digits shortly after and never looked back. USC’s top scorers from the first half, Pe’Shon Howard and Byron Wesley were each held to 9 and 2 points, respectively. Howard shot 3 for 9 in the second half and Wesley was held to an abysmal 1 for 7. The Wildcats finished with a record setting 94 points in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.
For USC, Wesley finished with a double-double; he had 15 points and 10 rebounds. Howard was the top scorer of the game with 23 points. Forward Roschon Prince had 13 points off the bench. The Trojans will play Wake Forest at 3:30 p.m. today.
The Wildcats improve to 5-0 and their undefeated record will surely be put to the test when they face-off against Kansas at 9:30 p.m. tonight.