Due to some pre-existing arrangements I wasn't around to chat during the Villanova win against Penn, but it sounded like 'Nova Nation was on edge a bit. An 18-point halftime lead (and really, it sounded like the best first half we've played all season) dwindled to a single-digit lead in the closing minutes and panic began to ensure.
But even though Zach Rosen heated up after the break, we lost Maurice Sutton and Markus Kennedy to injury before the game, and Maalik Wayns mysteriously sat out for an extended stretch, this was a relatively comfortable win for 'Nova, which is exactly what they needed.
I even tweeted that this one was wrapped up at halftime, which of course drew the ire of some. I'm smart enough to realize lightning doesn't strike in back to back games before making such proclamations of course. I wouldn't set myself up for the wrath of the entire fanbase like that.
'Cheers' & '/Facepalms' are after The Jump.
Mouphtaou Yarou - We called it out in our preview of the game, and the gameplan held the course. Mouph had a strong game, finishing with 21 points and 11 rebounds against a woefully undersized Penn team. But hey, that's what he is supposed to do. Let's see how he does against a more lengthy and athletic Missouri team, but for now, that's just what the doctor ordered.
Ty Johnson - Yep, you are not reading that wrong! Ty finally got some extended playing time (15 minutes) and really responded with 6 points and 3 assists. That was the kind of performance that eases my nerves a bit about the Big East season when he'll need to spot Leek.
Darrun Hilliard - 35 minutes, 13 points, 5 rebounds and some really efficient shooting. Would have been a player of the game type of performance if not for Mouph's outburst. A very nice rebound game after a horrifying final game in Anaheim.
James Bell - Marred by foul trouble a bit and limited to 17 minutes, but he still was effective when on the court. He finished with 9 points and got to the line a couple of times as well. I'm really enjoying his sophomore season thus far.
Maalik Wayns - Not one of his finer outings in my opinion, but he wasn't atrocious either. 11 points, 3 assists and 4 turnovers is okay against Penn, but once conference play rolls in we're going to get waxed if that's the kind of night he is having.
Achraf Yacoubou - Another frosh who got an extended run-out. 18 minutes for Ash results in just 3 points on 1-6 shooting, but he avoids the full /Facepalm because of his elite defense on Penn star Zach Rosen. Jay Wright threw Ash on him whenever Ash was on the floor and he really delivered, especially in the 1st half.
Dominic Cheek - I'm not off the Cheek-O bandwagon yet, though my patience is wearing thinner by the day. 3-11 from the field becomes even uglier when you consider he went 1-8 from beyond the arc. Meaning he was 2-3 inside the arc. Oh, and he never go to the FT line, where he's been lethal all season. SHOT SELECTION DOM!
Tweet of the Game
These guys (and yes I'm assuming it is guyS, as in plural) usually get at least 1 laugh out of me per day, but this gem floored me (especially since I wasn't watching the game live and was just following the score). So I imagined Dom was having a real stinker, which of course he was.
GameThread Comment of the Game
I was disappointed in missing the game thread to chat with folks, but thanks to jhulax22 for making an appearance in my stead. This week's award goes to regular KShark28 who lead off with this:
Yarou is eating people alive on the boards
I'm pretty sure he then decided that he wasn't making his point clearly enough, so he illustrated it for us.
Uhh...interesting? But also awesome.
Villanova returns to action tomorrow night when they take on the Missouri Tigers in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden. Tip-off is set for 7:00 pm ET. We will have our preview with Rock M Nation up either today or tomorrow morning.