Two conference regular season defending championships squared off on Saturday afternoon. The ACC’s Virginia Cavaliers came out on top against the Big East’s Villanova Wildcats, winning 86-75.
“We played a better team today,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said. “Their execution and attention to detail is on another level.”
This game was the first part of a home-and-home series, that saw the first game played in Charlottesville. Next year, the game will be played at Philadelphia.
Villanova trailed for most of the game, but kept it close all throughout. The Wildcats eventually broke through in the second half.
After trailing 33-30 going into the half, the Wildcats emerged strong out of the break. Six straight points by Kris Jenkins put Villanova in front for the first time since the 8:08 mark in the first half.
However, it would not last long. After trading a few baskets, Virginia used back-to-back threes by London Perrantes and Malcolm Brogdon to take the lead. The long range baskets sparked a 14-0 run that lasted just over three minutes.
Devon Hall topped off the run with his only basket of the day, draining a shot from beyond the arc to make it 55-43 with 9:13 remaining.
Villanova had rallied from big runs before, but this one was just too great to overcome. The Wildcats slowly chipped away at the deficit to trim it down to just four, that would be the closest they would ever get.
Whenever it seemed that they were getting back into the game, the Cavaliers responded with deflating big shots to take away their momentum.
Aside from that, the woes on the boards continued for Villanova. The Cavaliers held a 32-19 rebounding advantage over the Wildcats. Virginia saw strong rebounding performances by Brogdon and forward Anthony Gill. They both finished with seven rebounds each.
Meanwhile, Villanova was led by Daniel Ochefu‘s team-high five boards. He didn’t receive much help from his fellow forwards inside, with Jenkins getting two rebounds and Darryl Reynolds putting up a goose egg in the rebounds category.
Villanova’s defense just couldn’t get the stops it needed. Virginia was 26-of-46 (56.5%) on the floor. The Wahoos exposed the Wildcats’ perimeter defense, often getting open looks and knocking them down from long range.
Virginia doesn’t shoot too many threes, but they made them at an efficient rate. The Cavaliers shot 8-for-12 (66.7%) from beyond the arc.
“Guys played well offensively,” Virginia head coach Tony Bennett said. “They had us rattled, but we made some big shots. 8-of-12 on threes is obviously huge.”
Villanova had a good shooting performance, making 26-of-53 (49.1%) shot attempts. The Wildcats went 10-for-26 (38.5%) from long range. They were just out done by the Cavaliers.
Kris Jenkins scored a career-high 23 points to lead the Wildcats. Daniel Ochefu finished with 13 points off of 6-of-8 shooting and collected five rebounds. Josh Hart chipped in 12 points and three offensive rebounds. Ryan Arcidiacono scored eight points and dished out nine assists without turning the ball over.
“We have an inexperienced team,” Wright said. “We will learn from this and get better.”
For the Cavaliers, Anthony Gill led the way with a team-high 22 points and seven rebounds. He was efficient inside, rumbling his way to an 8-for-9 shooting performance. Malcolm Brogdon added another 20 points, with seven rebounds and six assists to go along with them. He was a perfect 12-for-12 at the free throw line. London Perrantes chipped in 19 points and shot 3-for-4 from long range. Darius Thompson had a silently good game, scoring 11 points and making all four of his shot attempts.
Villanova drops to 8-2 overall and will resume action on Tuesday night with a game against Delaware. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.