clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Eagles remain endangered after Nova win

David J. Miller/

Villanova extended it's winning streak over American University to 10 games, beating the Patriot League squad 73 to 52 in front of a sparse Pavilion crowd on alumni night. American battled hard in the first half and kept things close early, though Villanova began to pull away late, taking a 9 point lead into the intermission. Once the second half began, however, Villanova continued to extend its lead.

Ty Johnson started the game for Maalik Wayns, who didn't practice during the week with a viral infection. Wayns was questionable to play tonight but managed to have an impact regardless, scoring 12 points and dishing out 9 assists. Johnson scored a career-high 8 points and had 5 assists of his own.

While both point guards looked solid, the 'Cats shooting might have been the story of the night. Wayns took just one attempt from beyond the arc (a miss) and Dominic Cheek made 2 of 3 to lead the team, who made 40% of their attempts (10-25) on the night. Five players for Villanova connected on at least two 3-pointers.

Wayns and JayVaughn Pinkston each had 12 points in the game and every Wildcat player who set foot on the court scored at least 2 points. Dominic Cheek was the third double-digit scorer, notching 10 points on the outing.

Mouph Yarou had a rough night on the offensive end, looking tentative on his bad ankle, but managed to grab 10 rebounds to go with his 3 points. Markus Kennedy contributed 17 more rebounds and 6 points.

Villanova finished with 16 assists and just 5 turnovers overall and 61.5% of their made field goals were assisted.

The Villanova defense performed good but not great. American came into the game shooting about 37% from the arc as a team, but connected on just 33.3% tonight. The Eagles were held to just 0.858 points per possession, down from a season average of 0.979.

Despite that, they allowed Eagles guard Blake Jolivette go off for a career-high 19 points, including 3 of 5 from beyond the arc. Fellow guard Charles Hinkle scored 17 points and made 2 shots from deep (out of 7) to join Jolivette in threatening the Wildcats.

Villanova's success had more to do with a tremendous offensive effort that saw the Cat's score 1.22 points per possession. Much of that owed to the above average shooting performance by the Villanova guards and JayVaughn Pinkston.

The Wildcats were slightly better in every facet of the game. Connecting on 64.7% of their free throws to AU's 55.6% and getting to the line 17 times to American's 9; grabbing 12 offensive rebounds and 35 total rebounds to AU's 11 and 33; 16 assists to 12; 8 steals to 3; blocks, steals, turnovers, Villanova lead in every category.

As they should have. Villanova was 9-0 against American University coming into the game for a reason, the 'Cats have more resources and more talent than their Patriot League opponent. American was a true underdog.

Coach Jack Kraft was honored at half-time (David J. Miller / IndependentPhilly)

In attendance at the game were former coaches Jack Kraft and Rollie Massimino, as well as legendary former NBA coach Larry Brown and over 50 alumni of the Villanova basketball program. Jack Kraft was the honoree at half-time and many of the basketball alumni present were men who had played for him in the 60's and 70's. Kraft had the highest winning percentage of any Villanova basketball coach and took his 1971 team to the NCAA Tournament final, where they lost to UCLA.

Up next for the Wildcats is a short Christmas break followed by a return to action on Wednesday in Morgantown, West Virginia.

Update (2:55a): got quotes from Jay Wright post-game, including, "We’re getting better. We are not pretty and we are definitely a work in progress. We’ve got a lot of work to do. A good step." He also asked Jay Wright about the fans and their expectations.

Also, has a ton of photographs as well as video from the post-game press conference.


If you are looking for a way to give back on Christmas, please consider supporting Villanova football coach Andy Talley's foundation and the Be The Match bone marrow registry. Joining the registry is easy, all it takes is a quick, painless cheek swab and you're on their list. If you can't register due to age or health, you can still donate to the Andy Talley Bone Marrow Foundation, which helps fund the Get In the Game program that helps test and register donors at 32 colleges around the country.

Talley will be holding his second annual Bash at the Connolly Center on March 3, 2012.