Wildcats conclude preseason with dominant performance in exhibition rout against Nyack

Karolina Golabek

The men’s basketball team hosted an exhibition game, Nov. 9, at the Wells Fargo Center and defeated Nyack 82-45. The attendees were treated to free tickets to the event, as well as an autograph session with the team and Head Coach Jay Wright after the game.

Wright was thrilled with the decision to allow fans to see the game without payment. 

He stated, “I’m really proud and excited that Villanova University is allowing Philadelphia fans the opportunity to experience Villanova Basketball with free tickets against Nyack. I hope the fans can take advantage of this and get the chance to meet our players after the game.”

Junior forward Daniel Ochefu posted a double-double, scoring 11 points and grabbing 20 rebounds. Senior guard Darrun Hilliard and senior forward JayVaughn Pinkston ended the afternoon with 15 points each. Junior guard Dylan Ennis also ended in double digits, netting 14 points.

 “I was concerned about our rebounding before this,” Wright said. “Even though this was a smaller team, I thought we did a pretty good job of rebounding. Daniel Ochefu getting 20 rebounds today was huge.”

The Wildcats’ first chance came in the first nine seconds of the game, as Hilliard missed a three-point opportunity, and Pinkston missed a layup. The Warriors then had their first opportunity to score. However, senior forward Nick Moore missed a layup, which allowed ’Nova to obtain possession once more. Assisted by Pinkston, Ochefu dunked the ball to give the Wildcats the lead at 2-0.

’Nova soon increased its lead to 5-0, as Ennis hit a three-point field goal after an assist from junior guard Ryan Arcidiacono. The Warriors responded when senior guard Khalid Samuels’ jump shot put his team on the scoreboard. After more than a minute of missed baskets for both teams, Pinkston’s jumpshot gave the Wildcats another five-point lead, which led to a timeout by Nyack Head Coach Jason Crafton.

Interestingly enough, Crafton previously spent two years on the Villanova basketball staff. He was the video coordinator between 2003 and 2005 after he finished playing for Nyack. After his time with ’Nova, he joined the coaching staff at Navy alongside another former Villanova staff member, Billy Lange. He has been coaching Nyack since 2012.     

At the 15:54 mark, Hilliard netted a three-pointer to make the score 13-4, causing Nyack to ask for a second timeout. Within seconds after play resumed, Warrior sophomore forward Will Robinson’s layup diminished the Wildcats’ advantage to seven points. A missed layup and foul by Robinson a minute later allowed Pinkston to score, improving the result to 15-6. 

A foul by senior guard Chris Hampton gave Villanova its first free throw opportunities, which sophomore guard Josh Hart capitalized on, pushing the lead to 17-6. Moore’s layup gave Nyack its eighth point.

Within the next couple of minutes ’Nova substantially increased its lead. Hilliard, Ochefu  and Pinkston all capitalized on their opportunities, giving Villanova a 26-8 lead at the 9:27 mark. A three-pointer by Samuels broke the Wildcat streak, making it 26-11. 

A foul by Hampton allowed freshman guard Phil Booth to score his first point of the game and made the score 27-11. 

From there consecutive baskets from Pinkston, Ennis and Arcidiacono gave ’Nova a 33-13 lead. A three-point field goal by Samuels yet again stopped the Wildcat rally. 

’Nova’s largest first half advantage of 28 points came at the 1:17 mark, as Hilliard scored a free throw, making it 48-20. A jump shot by Warrior junior forward Frank Martin at the 0:44 mark made it 48-22, which was the score at the first half buzzer.

Villanova started the second half strongly, as Arcidiacono’s jump shot gave the team its 50th point. Warrior sophomore guard/forward Ezra Gaines kept ’Nova’s defense on its toes, as he scored a three-pointer at the 19:21 mark and a layup at 17:36 to make it 52-27. After several missed opportunities by Gaines, Nyack called for a timeout at 15:05. 

Assisted by Arcidiacono, Booth’s layup gave ’Nova its 60th and 62nd point. The Wildcats then dominated offensively, ultimately grabbing a 40-point advantage at 71-31 after a layup by Ochefu. A dunk by Moore at 71-33 put Nyack on the board after a drought of four minutes. 

After a couple of minutes of nervous play Wright called a timeout at 3:43. Nonetheless, the Wildcats maintained a substantial advantage until the conclusion of the second half. Junior forward’s Kevin Rafferty’s two free throws at the 00:22 mark allowed the scoreboard to read 82-45, the final tally. 

Villanova led Nyack in field goals, 31-15, free throws, 16-11, offensive rebounds, 18-15, defensive rebounds, 37-24 (total rebounds by a margin of 55-39), blocks, 8-0, and assists by a margin of 19-8. Both teams were able to score four 3-point field goals, with Nyack scoring a better percentage, 21.1 percent-16 percent. Nyack also led in turnovers, 20-18.

After the game Wright stated, “I am pretty pleased with our leadership and defense at this point. Turnovers are probably the area we need to work on. We were a little sloppy with the ball at times and we’ve got to tighten that up.”

Villanova returned to the Wells Fargo Center, where it registered a 3-1 record last season, when the Wildcats captured their first outright Big East regular season championship since 1982.

This was the second pre-season warm-up game for the Wildcats, who played their first scrimmage on Tuesday, Nov. 4, in the Pavilion against Northwood, which it defeated 93-50. The team returns to action on Friday, Nov. 14, as it opens its 2014-15 regular season against Lehigh in Allentown, at the new PPL Center.