This is a new feature that I'm going to be rolling out the morning after each game, be it win or lose. We'll hand out 'Cheers' to the best performers on the night, and we'll slap a few 'Facepalms' out there to those that didn't bring it that night.
In case you missed it last night, our beloved Villanova Wildcats started out the season the right way by blowing out the Monmouth Hawks 106-70 at The Pavilion. Dominic Cheek and Mouphtaou Yarou both set career-highs in points with 27 and 24, respectively. Maalik Wayns also chipped in with 15 points and and 5 assists.
And have we mentioned that we were 12-25 from behind the arc? Or that we shot over 54% from the floor as a team? That's basically the most efficient offensive night we're going to see from this team as a whole all season
Join me after The Jump as we hand out our inaugural Cheers & Facepalms.
Dominic Cheek - A career best 27 points (including 5-8 from beyond the arc), 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals. He was clearly the most impressive player for Villanova last night. His 20 first half points turned a lethargic opening period into a blowout by halftime. I don't know what it is with Dom, but the confidence he showed tonight could go a long way this season towards this season's success. Keep it up #23.
Mouphtaou Yarou - He was clearly a class above everyone else in the paint, but man was that a different player. Not that anyone could stick with him, but Yarou showed a variety of offensive moves along with a smooth midrange jumper en route to 24 points and 10 rebounds. His 2 blocks also showed he's still a defensive force down low when he asserts himself.
Maalik Wayns - Was it just me or was Leek kind of invisible tonight? Maybe it was the huge outbursts by Dom and Mouph, or the excitement to see the freshman, but that was a very quiet 15 and 5 night for him. Scary part - we know he can do more.
Markus Kennedy - What a tenacious rebounder this kid is! Yeah, it's only Monmouth, but you can tell that he gets what is important to Wright. He looked for his offense when it was there (without much hesitation, which is new for 'Nova bigs), and most importantly, he hit the glass like a man possessed. 6 points and 8 rebounds in 16 minutes is something we'll take every night and not twice.
Darrun Hilliard - Got the starting nod as a true freshman and didn't disappoint. In 17 minutes he put up 9 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists. He was impressive in showing a versatile offensive game, going 2-3 from downtown and also finishing a strong drive to the bucket after taking a hard foul.
JayVaughn Pinkston - Can't say enough about the tough times he endured last year, and he played like he was ready to be back out on the court tonight. 9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. And did not force the issue at all. He was quietly impressive, which is a testament to his efficiency when called upon.
'Nova Nation All-Access - Can we trouble you for a replay? I don't know if that technology is above you, but good Lord people. I feel like it isn't too much to ask to see a play again when it's clearly an impressive play or a call is in doubt. It was maddening. Then again, just having a constant feed of the game for us without any down time was a huge success in many's eyes. Baby steps, I guess.
Dallas Ouano & Nick McMahon - Dallas was out there for 4 minutes while McMahon got a couple minutes of action - neither has a FG in there career. Neither attempted a shot tonight. Come on guys, I know you're running the offense, but give the students and the fans what they want! At least one of you (and preferably both) need to jack up at least 1 shot! You aren't going to get many chances this season!
Not a lot else to discuss. The FT shooting was impeccable (22-26), the distribution was phenomenal (22 assists on 36 made FG) and the rotation well-handled by Jay Wright (Cheek led the team with 28 minutes, only Maurice Sutton, Ouano and McMahon didn't record double-digit minutes).
This was clearly an overmatched opponent, but I did not expect us to blow them out like this. The La Salle game will be very interesting - a Big 5 rivarly will be a solid test for the young players - but after seeing tonight's game you have to come away feeling good about Cheek and Yarou's desire to step up as well as the debuts for several players.