Rider came into the Pavilion and drew first blood, making the first shot within opening seconds of the game. Villanova was just wrapping up finals week and the end of the semester. With a game against #2 Syracuse on deck, there were some worries that the Wildcats would be distracted and slip up. It turned out there would be nothing to worry about.
James Bell would answer right back with a three pointer. From that point on, Villanova would take the lead and run with it. They built a double digit lead early and kept Rider at bay until they were able to make it 27-22 with 4:41 remaining. A 16-7 run by the Wildcats to close out the half helped them build a 43-29 lead. The half ended with a nice turn of events that started with Tony Chennault missing a free throw and Kris Jenkins scooping up the offensive rebound. Jenkins would kick it back outside to Chennault who redeemed himself with a sweet jump shot with two seconds remaining. The Wildcats dominated the boards, outrebounding Rider 22 to 9. Seven of the 22 rebounds were on the offensive glass and Villanova would convert some of them into 12 second chance points. As for the offensive effort? The Wildcats outperformed the sharpshooting Broncs. Overall, Villanova shot 54.2% on the floor, much better than the 40% shooting performance posted by Rider. The Broncs have a reputation of shooting from long range very well, however they were held to just shooting 2 for 7 from beyond the arc in the first half. They would finish the game shooting 33.3% from three point range.
The Wildcats continued the beatdown in the second half. Josh Hart had a big day, scoring 14 of his 19 points in the second half alone. His 19 point game set a new career game for him. He had five rebounds and an assist to go along with his performance today. Hart was efficient on the floor, only having one missed shot attempt. At one point in the second half, Villanova was able to extend the lead to 27.
The Bench Mob checked in with 57.7 seconds remaining. Henry Lowe entered and scored a three pointer from the corner. Nick McMahon would score the final basket of the game off of a layup making it 88-67. The bench accounted for almost half of the points, making 40 of the 88 points. It was a physical game, with many players in foul trouble and both teams combining for 50 fouls.
Aside from Hart, JayVaughn Pinkston and Darrun Hilliard both had good games. Pinkston had 14 points and 3 rebounds, including a perfect 7 for 7 from the free throw line. Hilliard added 13 points and 7 rebounds to the winning effort.
For Rider, Anthony Myles led the way with a game high 22 points and 6 rebounds. Jimmie Taylor had 15 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 assists. Daniel Stewart contributed 13 points and 6 rebounds. He was great from the free throw line, where he made 9 of his 10 attempts.
Villanova improves to 11-0 and their undefeated record will be put through the test when they travel to Syracuse next Saturday. Tip-off is at 2 p.m.