On Monday night, the Villanova Wildcats will host the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks at the season's first game at the Pavilion. The `Cats look to bounce back after their horrid shooting performance on Friday vs. the Lehigh Mountain Hawks. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00pm and is on Fox Sports 1.
UMES is coming off a season opening 71-46 loss to the Virginia Tech Hokies. They shot 27.7% from the floor and 22.7% from three. Last season the Hawks were a much worse team, finishing the 2013-2014 campaign with a 6-24 that had a 13-game losing streak in it. Combine that with a true home atmosphere and this team should not give `Nova as much trouble
Here are the 3 biggest matchups to keep an eye on:
Daniel Ochefu vs. Mike Myers
A 6'9", 245 lbs senior did not compete in the past two seasons according to the athletic website. In the first game he was 1-4 from the floor and 7-14 from FT to finish with 9 points and 10 rebounds. He has a similar size to Tim Kempton who gave Ochefu trouble Friday night.
Ochefu had some usual struggles in the season opener, picking up an early foul and turning the ball over 3 times overall. He did have 9 rebounds, 6 of which offensive. He should be able to create second chances once again.
Ryan Arcidiacono vs. Isaac Smith
Smith played a team high 34 minutes on Friday, shooting a poor 1-5 but dishing out 4 assists and grabbing 3 rebounds. On top of that he turned the ball over 5 times. The `Cats forced 23 turnovers against Lehigh, the biggest reason they stayed in the game with so many missed shots.
Arch would like to forget his last shooting performance, going 4-14 and 1-7 from beyond the arc. On the plus side he was 7-11 from the charity stripe and added 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals. If Smith has trouble holding onto the ball like he did last time out, Arch should be able to produce high percentage fast break points.
Darrun Hilliard vs. Devin Martin
Martin's stat line was similar to Arcidiacono; 4-14 (1-8 from three) but did little else. He eventually fouled out in only 27 minutes of play. If Hilliard can cut back on three and drive to the basket more, Martin can get in early foul trouble and Darrun can have more success early on.
Just like most of the team, Hilliard struggled from the floor against Lehigh. His drives to the basket gave the whole team, more importantly himself, a large confidence boost during a period of frustration. If he can waken his inner captain and do the same from the start, this one will be over quick.