The Villanova Wildcats fell victim to a 69-64 defeat to the Senegal national team as part of their pre-season European tour yesterday in Paris, France. Dominic Cheek came off the bench to lead 'Nova with 17 points, while Mouphtaou Yarou had a phenomenal outing as well, registering 15 points and 16 rebounds. Maalik Wayns had 16 points and 6 rebounds.
There were a lot of new faces in the lineup yesterday. In what's a total shocker to me, freshman Darrun Hilliard got the starting nod, and finished with 3 points and 2 steals. Achraf Yacoubou scored 4 points, while Markus Kennedy and JayVaughn Pinkston finished with 5 and 4 rebounds respectively.
Without a box score - we're purely relying on Villanova's report of the game, so I'd be shocked to hear that Pinkston went scoreless as he's expected to be a big part of the offense.
Despite the loss, Jay Wright seemed pleased with his team's first full game together.
"I thought this was a great first game for us. It was very physical. We had a five point lead in the third period and just made some crucial mistakes at the end of the third period that hurt us. We had two straight turnovers and gave up that three at the end of the period. At that point we had a lot of young guys out there. We never really recovered from that."
"This was a great learning experience for us. I thought Mouphtaou Yarou was tremendous. They tried to get him out of his game by speaking to him in French but he never responded, never let them get him out of his game. Darrun Hilliard played well in his first game. I thought JayVaughn did a good job his first time out. Maalik was Maalik, he was good. Cheek gave us a great spark off the bench, shot the ball well and created some turnovers defensively." "We really look forward to playing (Senegal) again tomorrow."
Some thoughts on what I'm reading after The Jump.
- Darrun Hilliard in the starting lineup is a big shock to me. I assume the lineup was Wayns, Bell, Hilliard, Armwood and Yarou. I don't think that will be the starting lineup on opening night, but it's good to see Hilliard is earning the coaches' respect.
- Mouph is going to need to have a lot of nights like that this coming season for us to be successful. Good to see him do it against grown men, even if it is Senegal.
- We've got a lot of size this year, so it's no surprise we owned a 51-44 edge on the glass. This will be a different looking team this year.
- Really happy to see Cheek be so aggressive and efficient offensively. We need him to break out.
- 3-16 from downtown - get used to it. We just don't have a lot of shooters.
- This feels like a team that will be taken as far as Wayns, Cheek and Yarou take them. I'm expecting big things from Pinkston too. But if that trio struggles, it'll be a long year.