Villanova opened up Big Five play this season with a road game against rival St. Joseph’s University.
The Wildcats beat the Hawks 86-72 in front of a packed Hagan Arena. It is Villanova’s fourth straight win over St. Joe’s in the Holy War.
At first it seemed like the Wildcats were going to run away with the game early on. The last two years featured lopsided games that were in Villanova’s favor.
Once the Wildcats started to get it going, they got out to a double-digit lead after a slow start. They found plenty of success from long range in the first half, draining eight shots from beyond the arc.
At one point Villanova led 40-25 with just under three minutes left in the first half, using the three-point barrage to get out in front and grab the lead. The Wildcats were able to take control of the game even with Daniel Ochefu spending most of the first half on the bench due to foul trouble.
St. Joe’s DeAndre Bembry had 13 of his 17 points in the first half alone. He kept the Hawks in the game with a late three-pointer to cut Villanova’s lead down to ten in the waning minutes of the first half.
Villanova took a 42-32 lead going into the break.
The Wildcats came out strong to start the second half, putting points on the scoreboard through various ways. It didn’t last too long though, as they would go cold on the floor.
Villanova did not have the same success from beyond the arc as it did in the first half of the game. As a team, they only sank three baskets from long range, as opposed to the eight they made in the first half.
St. Joe’s used this to its advantage, going on an 8-0 run to inch back into the game. Isaiah Miles knocked down a three to cap off the scoring spree, trimming the deficit down to just 54-49 with just over 14 minutes left in the game.
However, that would be the closest the Hawks would get to tying the game. Ryan Arcidiacono reignited the Wildcat offense with a three-pointer to put an end to the St. Joe’s run.
From there, Villanova was able to slowly rebuild its lead back into double figures. As the clock winded down, the Hawks chances of getting back into the game were dwindling. The Wildcats maintained the steady pace for the rest of the game, as both teams traded baskets.
Villanova went on to win its first Big Five game of the season.
Arcidiacono finished with an efficient 17 point, three rebound, and three assist performance. He was 6-of-9 on the floor and a near-perfect 3-for-4 from long range. Kris Jenkins and Josh Hart had 18 points each. Hart was close to a double-double, grabbing nine rebounds as well. Mikal Bridges supplied a solid 11-point performance off the bench.
For St. Joe’s, Bembry finished with 17 points, six rebounds, and a pair of assists. Miles added 14 points and five boards. James Demery and Shevar Newkirk chipped in 13 points each. Aaron Brown had 11 points and was 2-for-3 from long range.
Villanova improves to 7-0 for the season. The Wildcats resume action on December 7, when they head over to Hawaii to take on Oklahoma.