‘Nova grabs early win over Philly U

Joe Groglio

To be a successful team, it is crucial to beat the teams that you are supposed to beat. This year’s Villanova Wildcats men’s basketball team got off to a good start on that goal by beating Philadelphia University 71-60 on Sunday. Philadelphia, a Division II powerhouse, didn’t have the size or depth to keep up with the much improved Wildcats.

The ‘Cats led by as many as 19, and Philly never even got close. Junior forward Curtis Sumpter had the most impressive statistical day, scoring 22 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. Sumpter, a preseason 2nd team All Big East Selection, is expected to have a huge season for Nova. He was eight of 15 from the floor, and added another six through six perfect free throws.

Chris Charles will be a key to this season, and he was impressive in the game as his 11 points helped the ‘Cats go on a run to put the game away.

Chris Charles did a great job battling inside for us,” Coach Jay Wright told Villanova.com. “Curtis also did a good job scoring within our offense.”

Brent Welton led the way for Philly U, scoring 20 points. Brian Tomko and Darnell Goody added 14 and 12 points respectively to keep the game within reach.

Coach Wright was very impressed with the Division II power.

“We played an extremely well-coached Philadelphia University team that is very efficient,” he said. “We couldn’t have gotten better preparation at this point of the year.”

In the end, size and strength made the difference, as ‘Nova out rebounded its opponents 38-18, including 14 offensive boards.

Will Sheridan showed he has vastly improved from last season, as he scored 11 points and pulled down nine rebounds. The guards played solid as well, with Allan Ray scoring 13 and Randy Foye adding seven, as well as four assists for each player. Mike Nardi came in off the bench and showed he had a good grasp of the offense, as he dished out three assists and controlled the game on both sides of the floor.

The crowd was ecstatic when fan favorites Baker Dunlevy and Ross Condon got some playing time. Baker served as the backup swingman, and Condon handled the point for the last several minutes. Marcus Austin, playing in his first game since last fall, looked solid, scoring four points.

Overall the Wildcats played tough, and looked like the type of team that will contend for an NCAA berth. The season opens up for real this Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. at the Pavilion against UMBC. So get fired up ‘Nova Nation, these boys are ready to play, and this will undoubtedly be a successful year.