Happy Monday Nova Nation! Reports have been coming in about the Villanova Wildcats “secret scrimmage” against the North Carolina Tar Heels in Chapel Hill yesterday. This is the second consecutive season that the schools who met in the 2016 National Championship have met behind closed doors to warm up for the season.
The headline on the Nova side is that freshman Justin Moore went 9 of 12 from deep en route to a high score of 39 points in 54 minutes of game time (two 20 minute “halves”, with two more short sessions of 6 and 8 minutes). Villanova won the first 20 minute half, and the first short session, while UNC took the other two. This may have been only a scrimmage, but it’s an impressive feet for the freshman against top competition. Last season Saddiq Bey went off in this scrimmage, and went on to break into the starting lineup.
Two things to keep in mind though before we get too excited about a closed door scrimmage. First, Collin Gillespie did not participate in this one as he’s still recovering from surgery to repair a broken nose. That means Moore once again started at point guard, matching up with fellow freshman Cole Anthony. But the more important thing is, well, we already know Moore can score. The real question is his ability to run the offense and create for others as the primary ball handler. He’s shown signs in the Blue/White Scrimmage and the USC Exhibition that he’s developing those skills, but personally I’m curious how many assists he had over the weekend. But I’m nitpicking here, overall it’s fantastic news that a freshman is able to step up like this against elite competition.
Jermaine Samuels was the second leading scorer for the Wildcats with 19 points over the four sessions. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl was again a standout for the Wildcats with another double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds. Cole Swider was also impressive in Villanova’s second win, scoring 6 points in the 6 minutes session.
In other “news”, Jay Wright is Legend, Joe Cremo taken in G-League draft, and Josh Hart is the center of yet another meme. Enjoy!
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