Villanova Basketball: Wildcats show resilience in West Lafayette
Villanova basketball earned a monster quality non-conference victory at Purdue.
In what will likely go down as one of the top games of the non-conference portion of the college basketball season, the defending national champs, Villanova, squeaked out a win over the Purdue Boilermakers on the road.
It was never easy for Jay Wright’s squad, but the Wildcats did indeed move forward with a 2-0 record and the best quality win in the nation to date.
Just think about what the Wildcats were able to do on Monday night.
They traveled into what was a raucous environment at Mackey Arena. The 15th ranked Boilermakers and their fan base had the opportunity to prove that they were one of the best teams in the nation by defeating the 3rd ranked Wildcats, so the arena was loud and insane all night long.
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On top of that, Villanova also faced off against possibly the best front court trio in the nation, Vincent Edwards, Caleb Swanigan and Isaac Haas, without Daniel Ochefu (who graduated) and Omari Spellman (who is ineligible). The Wildcats only have one true big in their rotation in senior forward Darryl Reynolds, thus they had to overcome a major disadvantage.
Neither the crowd nor Purdue’s front court phased the Wildcats though.
Villanova used their poise and experience to overcome the environment. Remember this is a team that won the National Championship last season and was doubted by everyone across the country due to their failures to advance past the first weekend of the Big Dance in year’s past.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats used their versatility, length and skill to overcome the Boilermakers’ trio of front court stars. They certainly didn’t shut down Edwards (10 points and eight assists), Haas (22 points) and Swanigan (20 points and eight assists), but they forced all three bigs into early foul trouble.
They also had stretches of the game where they dictated play with Josh Hart (24 points) and Reynolds (12 points and eight boards). Kris Jenkins struggled with his efficiency, but even Eric Paschall scored 11 points in nine minutes off the bench to make up for it.
Villanova is a high IQ basketball team that is able to adapt to different scenarios. Purdue isn’t a slouch by any means, and Villanova was still able to come out victorious.
The Boilermakers proved themselves to be a potential Big Ten title contender. However, this game says more about Villanova and their opportunity to be the first team to repeat since Florida back in 2006-07.
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