No. 12 Villanova displays its balance vs. winless Delaware
Villanova coach Jay Wright can’t remember ever coaching a team as balanced as this one.
Kris Jenkins scored 13 points to lead five players in double figures and the No. 12 Wildcats cruised to a 78-47 win over Delaware on Sunday.
Darrun Hilliard and Daniel Ochefu added 12 points apiece for the Wildcats (6-0), who held the Blue Hens (0-5) to 31 percent shooting and forced 17 turnovers.
"It’s pretty unique, it really is," Wright said. "I think that balance gives us a chance to be a really good team."
Josh Hart finished with 11 points, Dylan Ennis had 10 and Phil Booth added eight. Hart, Ennis and Booth were among four Villanova players to log four assists.
Cazmon Hayes led Delaware with 17 points on 6-of-21 shooting and Devonne Pinkard added 11.
The Blue Hens have scored 60 points or fewer in all five games this season. They also scored 47 points in a loss to Stanford on Tuesday in what was the program’s lowest scoring output since 2009.
"I have a lot of young guys and I haven’t quite gotten them to the point that they understand that making shots is an option," Delaware head coach Monte Ross joked. "When I get that through to them, we will be a lot better. They think we’re supposed to miss every shot."
Villanova took a 34-16 lead into halftime. Hilliard then drilled two quick 3-pointers to start the second half to help the Wildcats surge to a 44-16 advantage.
Hayes stopped a 23-1 Villanova run with a steal and dunk with 16:30 remaining — the Blue Hens’ first bucket in eight minutes. But Delaware never got closer than 22 points as the Wildcats made nine 3-pointers in the second half to keep a hefty lead throughout.
For the game, Villanova shot 28 for 58 (48.3 percent) from the floor and 13 for 32 (40.6 percent) from 3-point range.
"If they’re making 3s, they’re a legitimate Final Four team," Ross said. "Those guys have a lot of weapons."
Ross said his team’s game plan was to force the Wildcats to take a lot of shots from the perimeter because they were shooting less than 30 percent from behind the arc coming into the contest.
But led by Hilliard, who buried 3 of his 5 3-point attempts, the Wildcats broke out of their early season shooting slump.
"I took my time and I got the right shots," said Hilliard, who was shooting 17 percent from 3-point range before Sunday’s game. "These guys keep me confident. As long as I’m playing defense, I have nothing to worry about."
Wright credited Villanova’s interior play for setting the tone and getting the guards some good looks from the perimeter.
Ochefu shot 6 for 12 from the field but Wright was most impressed with some of the passes the 6-foot-11 forward made to help the Wildcats successfully spread the floor.
"He really is one of the best passing forwards I’ve seen in college in a while," wright said. "And he loves to do it."
Delaware, which has yet to play a home game this season, is feeling the effects of graduating top scorers Devon Saddler and Davon Usher from last year’s NCAA tournament team and then losing Jarvis Threatt when the star guard was dismissed from the team over the summer. Everyone in the Blue Hens’ starting lineup is either a freshman or a sophomore. Key upperclassmen Kyle Anderson and Marvin King-Davis are battling early-season injuries.
Villanova has won all 13 meetings with Delaware, including in each of the past six seasons.
Villanova: Sunday’s game marked the first of five at the Wells Fargo Center, the home of the Philadelphia 76ers. Villanova has a 40-33 record in the building. . After winning the Progressive Legends Classic following wins over VCU and Michigan earlier this week, the Wildcats have now captured tournament titles in back-to-back seasons for just the second time in program history.
Delaware: The Blue Hens have still never beaten a ranked opponent in 31 tries. . Delaware shot 26 percent from the floor in the first half and made only one of its 13 3-point attempts.
Ross was cracking jokes during the postgame news conference, saying that it was "therapeutic to talk to someone" after an 0-5 start.
Perhaps the Delaware coach’s best line: "We had numbers on our jerseys. They had numbers on their jerseys. After that, I’m not so sure it was an even matchup."