The Villanova Wildcats’ Spanish tour continued this morning with an 87-80 victory over a Spanish Select Team at the Real Madrid training complex in the Spanish Capitol. Senior Josh Hart was the star of the show, recording a double-double; 27 points and 13 rebounds. The victory improves the ‘Cats to 2-0 on their three-game tour of Spain, with one game remaining — a Tuesday midday tip-off in Madrid (6am US Eastern time).
“Josh was dominant, by far the best player on the floor today,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said in a release. “If that was a regular season game he probably could have had 40. We were trying some different things late. But when we needed a bucket, we went to him every time and he came through.
“Even more so than the points, I thought Josh was outstanding defensively and on the glass for us.”
Hart was one of four Wildcats who scored in double-digits in the contest. Sophomore Mikal Bridges poured in 16 points of his own while Jalen Brunson added 14 points and four assists. Fellow-senior Kris Jenkins had 10 points and nine rebounds, and opened the scoring with a triple on the first possession.
Wright has used this trip as an opportunity to get more players involved as well.
“We were able to play a lot of guys in tight situations without Arch (Ryan Arcidiacono) and Daniel (Ochefu) being out there was really good for us,” he stated. “Down the stretch we had Tim Delaney and Dylan Painter playing key minutes at crunch time for us. The same for Eric Paschall. It was a tremendous experience for us.”
The ‘Cats led at the end of all four quarters, but built a nice cushion heading into halftime on 12 second-quarter points from Hart. Though they were up just four points in the first period, they went into halftime leading 52-36.
The Spaniards got hot from beyond the arc in the second half to chip away and narrow the score. At the end of the contest they were 11-of-38 from deep, and got themselves back within five points of the NCAA National Champions. The ‘Cats held off their opponents, however, and finished the game with a length-of-the-court slam by Hart.
“It was a great experience,” Hart said in a release. “At one point we were up 16 and sometimes against younger teams, that’s it and the lead grows. This team didn’t get riled up, stayed confident and battled back possession by possession. It was tough but good to get the experience in the summer and not during the regular season.”