In case you missed it (and really, your long-term health was saved), last night the Villanova Wildcats reversed a late-game deficit to stun the La Salle Explorers in overtime at The Pavilion, winning 76-69. For those of you who participated in our live game chat, many thanks as always for stopping by and we're dishing out a new award for the comment of the game and the tweet of the game, which we'll be doing from here on out.
Maalik Wayns and Dominic Cheek will receive all the plaudits (and deservedly so) but there were others who stepped up both early and late in the game that were instrumental in sealing this victory and getting 'Nova to 2-0 on the season and 1-0 in the Big 5.
Namely, Mouphtaou Yarou, James Bell, and Maurice Sutton all stepped up for long stretches, while true freshman Darrun Hilliard had the play of the game that helped force overtime.
Our 'Cheers' and '/Facepalms' are after The Jump.
Maalik Wayns - You stepped up when it mattered Leek. The 5-16 from the floor was ugly at times, but the 10-10 from the line in crunch time was not. And that 3 that you buried late in regulation out of nowhere, that took some balls. Serious balls.
Dom Cheek - Did most of his damage at the line (12-14) including a perfect run down the stretch and in OT. But you know what? That's what he should be doing. Dom was one of the only players who seemed intent to crash the boards and finish inside. His 0-4 effort from beyond the arc can be forgiven, because I can only recall one that he took under pressure. And most importantly, after we had trouble containing Sam Mills in the 1st half, Jay Wright called his number and he completely shut Mills down in the 2nd half. Seriously f*cking phenomenal defense.
James Bell - 2-8 from deep but both of the makes came at HUGE moments during the game where 'Nova was being threatened to lose their grip on the game. He was also money from the line when he got there and similarly played incredible defense that helped slow La Salle down after their good opening half.
Darrun Hilliard - His defense early on allowed Mills to catch fire but for a freshman, that was a very savvy performance. Throughout the second half I found myself lamenting Wright when he wasn't in the game because he was very calm on the floor in a tough situation. Oh and that steal. That steal, that steal, that steal! What a friggan play to bait the inbounds pass and then undercut it and finish it under serious pressure. Without a doubt the play of the game. 'Nova doesn't force OT, much less win, without it.
Maurice Sutton - Got his number called for the first time late in a tight game that prompted some head-scratching from 'Nova Nation, but Mo showed that the call was right, playing great defense on just about everybody that La Salle threw out there, and his tips and rebounds ensured that La Salle's chances were limited. Serious cheers to Mo. Can't believe I'm typing this. But he deserves it.
Mouphtaou Yarou - One of the best 1st halves of his career as he was a dominant force down low and on the boards. Continued it through early in the second half and then sort of disappeared, especially late in the game. Not getting the ball enough isn't really his fault, but he did have a few careless turnovers when he did get it in the post. A tale of two halves for Mouph.
Markus Kennedy - Wright kept him on the bench late in a game that he just seemed a little taken aback by. He was stuffed down low twice when it looked like he had all the position and an easy bucket. This seems like more of a rarity for him after his opening game performance and all the reports out of summer. But that very much seemed like a 'welcome to college basketball' type of game for MK.
JayVaughn Pinkston - Easy to tell his conditioning isn't quite there after a year away from the game. He'll get there. But that flunked dunk went from bringing the house down as 'Nova began to pull away early in the 2nd half to a feature on ESPN's Not Top 10.
Tweet of the Game
This one floored me and eased the late-game tension that was threatening my heart condition. Aaron Bracy tweeted at me asking how the crowd was at The Pavilion - which prompted this beauty from Kevin Hykos.
GameThread Comment of the Game
The inaugural award goes to KShark28 who subtely, yet eloquently described the 'Nova student section after 3 straight charges (2 of which were flat out horrible calls) were called against us late in the 1st half. Short, sweet, and spot on.
Epically clear chant
Villanova returns to action this Fridaynight against the Delaware Blue Hens. Tip is a 7 p.m. ET and the game is scheduled to be on ESPN3.