Villanova Holds Off Second Half Rally By Delaware To Post 79-69 Men’s Basketball Victory Over Blue Hens
November 18, 2011
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Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell
VILLANOVA, Pa. -- The University of Delaware rallied from a 16-point deficit to get within four, but the Blue Hens could not get enough key stops late in the game as the Villanova University men’s basketball team held off UD to post a 79-69 non-conference victory Friday night at The Pavilion.
The Wildcats, who improved to 3-0 on the season, got a team-high 21 points from second team Preseason All-Big East guard Maalik Wayns, who also dished out five assists on the night. Fellow guard Dominic Cheek also scored 21 points for the Wildcats, while forward Mouphtaou Yarou added 19 points on 8 of 14 shooting from the field.
Sophomore Devon Saddler (at right), a second team Preseason All-CAA selection, tied his career-high by pouring in 27 points while also dishing out four assists and grabbing four rebounds for the Blue Hens, who dropped to 0-2 on the season. Freshman guard Kyle Anderson (at left), who missed the season opener at Radford with a stress reaction in his left foot, contributed 12 points on four three-pointers in his Blue Hen debut, while fellow rookie Jarvis Threatt was the third Delaware player in double figures with 11 points to go with a team-best five assists.
Jamelle Hagins, who sat out most of the first half with foul trouble, rebounded to finish with nine points and seven rebounds, while Kelvin McNeil scored six points and collected a game-best nine boards.
The Blue Hens struggled from the field during the opening half, shooting just 10 of 29 from the field (34.5 percent), but climbed back in the game by connecting on 17 field goals during the second period and shooting 47.2 percent during the stanza. However the Wildcats, who shot 48.2 percent for the game and went 17 of 22 from the foul line, never relinquished the lead as they improved to 10-0 all-time against Delaware.
“We need to continue to get better and continue improving,” said sixth-year Delaware head coach Monté Ross. “We improved from the first game to the first half of tonight, and we improved from the first half to the second half. We shared the ball, and played the game the right way. We had a few jitters early, but we settled down late in the first half and then fought them toe to toe in the second. We made a few runs at them, but credit Villanova because they responded each time.”
Villanova scored eight consecutive points to take an early 10-2 advantage at the 15:52 mark of opening half, but Delaware pulled within 14-9 when Saddler found Hakim McCullar for a layup with 11 minutes left in the period. The Wildcats answered with six consecutive points to make it a 20-9 game, and after jumpers by Khalid Lewis and Saddler made it a 20-13 game at the six-minute mark, Villanova responded with a 6-0 run to take a 26-13 advantage with 4:49 to play.
Delaware pulled within single digits at 33-24 after a layup by Kelvin McNeil, but a free throw by Wayns with 43.5 seconds left and a putback by Cheek just before the buzzer gave Villanova a 38-24 halftime advantage.
Yarou opened the second half with a bucket for the Wildcats, but Delaware exploded for a 16-4 run, as two consecutive three-pointers by Saddler followed by a Threatt triple make it a 44-40 game with 15:26 to play.
A Cheek three-pointer and a Wayns layup upped the margin back to nine, but Threatt hit another three-pointer to cut the margin to 49-43 with 14:22 left. Anderson connected from long distance to slice the lead to 51-46 but again the Wildcats would respond, scoring five consecutive points to go back up double figures at 56-46 at the 10:45 mark.
The teams continued to trade baskets as Villanova kept the Blue Hens at bay, before a dunk by Hagins cut the UD deficit to 66-58 with 4:51 on the clock. Delaware continued to score but could not stop the Wildcats down the stretch, and never got closer than eight points the rest of the way.
The Blue Hens, who connected on 10 of 32 three-point attempts, held their own inside against the Wildcats, coming away with a 36-34 rebounding advantage.
Delaware plays its 2011-12 home opener on Tuesday when the Blue Hens take on Cornell at 7 p.m. at the Bob Carpenter Center.
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