If there’s a lesson to be learned from tonight, it’s that there’s no need to worry. This is a talented, tough team that keeps hustling and stays resilient. They showed it in the Bahamas, against Iowa and Kansas. This team will keep fighting until the final buzzer sounds. Tonight was no different. In first half, the packed Hagan Arena was buzzing. Freshman DeAndre Bembry and St. Joseph’s star Langston Galloway led the charge of the Hawks. St. Joseph’s punished the Wildcats by driving and kicking out to the open wing, where Bembry or Galloway would be waiting to make the open three. Hawk fans were ecstatic, Villanova was looking beat and distraught. Missed shots were halting the Wildcats from establishing any kind of rhythm. The Hawks would capitalize and were leading by 7 at one point. A Daniel Ochefu layup would give Villanova the lead 34-33 with 2:08 remaining in the first half. The Hawks cut off the Wildcats’ perimeter game for most of the first half, limiting their offense. Toward the end of the first half, the Wildcats would look inside with JayVaughn Pinkston, and take a 39-35 lead into the half. Pinkston would finish with 27 points and 8 rebounds.
The second half was all Villanova. Villanova never gave up the lead, and rarely gave the ball up; only committing one turnover. The Wildcats exploded for a 59 point second half performance. James Bell was hot from beyond the arc, shooting 5 for 8. Bell would finish with a huge double-double including 25 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 assists. He would score 23 of his 25 points in the second half alone. Pinkston would add 15 points in the half. St. Joe’s simply did not have an answer for the Wildcats’ onslaught. The Wildcats would cruise to a 98-68 victory. Villanova fans had a lot to cheer about; they had a good showing and made their presence known. It was a great environment for a rivalry game, the St. Joseph’s student section packed the seats. The small Villanova crowd made themselves audibly clear and did not let down for a single second in the game. ESPN was also proud of the rivalry spirit that filled Hagan Arena.
Aside from Bell and Pinkston, two other Wildcats also reached the double digits in scoring. Darrun Hilliard contributed 14 points, including 2 for 4 shooting from long range. Ryan Arcidiacono added another 11 points and 4 assists. Nick McMahon checked in for the Bench Mob with 1:17 remaining.
For St. Joe’s, Langston Galloway was their top performer with an 18 point and 7 rebound performance. DeAndre Bembry had 17 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists before fouling out late in the game. Halil Kanacevic had 10 points before fouling out much to the Wildcat crowd’s delight.
The hawk is still dead.
Villanova will take their undefeated record back home when they host La Salle on Sunday, December 15, at 2:30 p.m.