The Wildcats returned home today after a 13-day road trip. While they were away JayVaughn Pinkston hit his 1,000th point in the game against Seton Hall, and he was honored before tip-off commemorating his milestone achievement. However, for the bulk of the game, the spotlight was on sophomores Daniel Ochefu and Ryan Arcidiacono. The two combined for 28 points and carried most of the load on offense until the Wildcats established a sizable lead deep into the second half.
The game started off a little slow for both teams. A combination of poor luck and good defense led to missed shots and early turnovers, affecting both teams. A Josh Hart three pointer would give Villanova the 10-8 lead with 11:47 remaining in the first half. His three pointer fueled the crowd and got them going after being mostly quiet up until this point. However, the Blue Demons continued to scratch and claw their way to keep it close. The Wildcats would later be able to get some separation in thanks to a four point series by Ochefu that began with a beautiful dunk and then coming back shortly after with a layup. Arcidiacono would make the last shot of the half and the Wildcats would take a 33-24 lead over DePaul.
The second half was all Villanova, a team that has established themselves as a great second half team this season. Ochefu got the scoring started in the second half for the Wildcats with an and-one. He would finish with 14 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 blocks. It was the best game of his Villanova career thus far, and was great on both sides of the court. Arcidiacono would then score to give Villanova a double digit lead. The Wildcats’ lead would never fall below double digits for the rest of the game. The duo would help the Wildcats to a 16 point lead, when Jay Wright would change up the floor in favor for a smaller lineup. Despite the comfortable, almost decisive lead with less than ten minutes remaining in the game, the Wildcats did not take it easy. They continued to pour it on the Blue Demons, expanding their lead to 20, before finally finishing the game 88-62. Towards the end of the game, it was a little chippy on the floor. Hart and DePaul’s Brandon Young got into an altercation where elbows and words were exchanged, resulting in technical fouls being handed out. Ochefu also got into a verbal exchange with a DePaul player until referees stopped it from escalating and both teams would be warned.
DePaul’s bench was not a factor in the game, only scoring eight of their 62 points. On the other hand Villanova’s bench scored approximately a fourth of their points, combining for 24 points. The Wildcats also took good care of the ball, only turning it over five times for the whole game.
For Villanova, five players put up double digit figures for the second straight game. James Bell was the top scorer with 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists. Arcidiacono and Ochefu each had 14 points to their names. Hart added 13 points including three baskets from long range. Darrun Hilliard had 11 points.
Villanova remains undefeated at home and in conference play. They will be tested when they play Creighton this Monday night in what will be a battle of top 25 teams.