Villanova Wildcats
ETSU-Villanova Preview
Villanova Wildcats

ETSU-Villanova Preview

Published Nov. 19, 2015 10:04 p.m. ET

Villanova has turned in two victories of at least 24 points, and while Jay Wright's team has been particularly impressive defensively, it's shown moments of vulnerability.

It seems such a moment would have to stretch out for quite a while for the 11th-ranked Wildcats to get in trouble Friday night in a preliminary round game of the NIT Season Tipoff against East Tennessee State, but the Buccaneers haven't experienced any lapses in scoring through their first two games under a new coach.

Villanova (2-0) fell behind by seven midway through the first half in Tuesday's 87-63 home win over Nebraska, but it recovered to build a 38-25 lead by halftime.

"I think that's something we've gotten used to over the years," Wright said. "We respect everybody. Even if we're supposed to beat somebody, I think our guys know that anyone can beat you. That team is definitely good enough to beat us when we're not playing well."


The Wildcats held the Cornhuskers to 37.7 percent shooting and 7 for 23 from 3-point range with 22 turnovers, which came four days after limiting Fairleigh Dickinson to 27.0 percent in a 91-54 win. But for a team that led the Big East in 3-point shooting last season at 38.9 percent, the outside shot hasn't come easily. Villanova is 19 for 66 (28.8) from 3 thus far.

Josh Hart finished with 19 points against Nebraska, and Daniel Ochefu had 17 and 10 rebounds, but any groove they established began on the other end.

"When we took the lead, I thought there was a couple great plays by Mikal Bridges and (Ryan Arcidiacono), getting steals, deflections, and it helped us get out (in transition)," Wright told the school's official website.

"We just weren't making shots. They were playing good defense. They're a good defensive team. We got some easy buckets then the threes started going. Arch and Mikal got us going and that got us some easy buckets."

Villanova has started at least 3-0 every season since 2006-07, and has won its last 20 nonconference home games by an average of 20.1 points since a December 2012 loss to Temple. East Tennessee State, meanwhile, has lost 17 games against the Top 25 over the last 20 seasons by an average of 19.7 points.

The Buccaneers (2-0) opened with a 107-59 win over Division III Averett, but they were about as impressive offensively in Tuesday's 103-90 win over Green Bay, which has gone to the NIT the past two seasons and took Stanford to overtime in its opener.

"What a great win for our program," first-year coach Steve Forbes told the school's official website. "Playing on ESPN is such a showcase for our school and our city, and I think our fans did a great job of showing up. They helped us because the atmosphere was great.

"I think our depth wore them down. I've said it all along that we are a deep team and I think that was a difference today. They have a really nice team, so this is a big win for us."

The Buccaneers are among the nation's leaders in scoring (105.0), and they're the only school with at least 60 free-throw attempts and a percentage of 80.0 or greater (85.0).

Ge'Lawn Guyn, a graduate transfer from Cincinnati who played limited minutes in two wins over the Wildcats in 2011-12 and '12-13, scored a game-high 26 points and is averaging 22.5. Fellow guard T.J. Cromer added 17, and the freshman is averaging 18.0 to start his career.


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