Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Penn Post Game -- Passing the Baton

The Big 5
Villanova opened the Big 5 season last night at the Pavilion as hosts for the Quakers of the University of Pennsylvania. The 'Cats were not very polite hosts as they rung up a 38 point win, 103-65, over their guests. The game was largely over at half-time, as Villanova took a commanding, 55-25 lead into the locker room. Coach Wright held off for a time, but went ahead and emptied the bench about halfway through the second half, running a total of 12 players through the game in the last 20 minutes. And with this victory, the Wildcats notched their 30th Big 5 win of the decade, surpassing the win total set by the great Penn teams of the 1970s.

The Official website posted an AP wirestory and box score, while a number of the Villanova blogs posted recaps. Rather than post the individual links, I will give you the Villanova Viewpoint, where the editor has already collected the links. A good job of coverage all around. Breaking down the box score by halves...

 Offense Defense

The pace half-over-half was surprisingly consistent given the large rotation. Given post game comments from Coach Miller ("As much speed coming off the bench..."(as they have starting) suggests Penn was not able to control the pace. Hard to do when your team posts a 33.3 eFG% in the first half, and 42.2 overall. And can only rebound about 1 in 4 misses. Those are very tough numbers for the Quakers, but do suggest some good things about the Wildcats.

Notes & Observations
1. Mouphtaou Yarou is a project. Yarou was DQ'd with 5 fouls in 17 minutes of play. He logged foul #1 about a minute into the 1st period, but the Coach waited another minute before sitting him down. Mouph checked back in 14 minutes later and finished out the half. Overall he averaged 3:24 between fouls in this game. He did better (2 fouls in 20 minutes of play) versus FDU.
2. The staff reached deep into the rotation as the starters only took 52% of the minutes in the 2nd half. Twelve players checked in at the scorer's table durning the last 20 minutes. The Wildcats still managed to out score Penn by 8 points (48-40).
3. The assist rate declined in the 2nd half. The freshman Maalik Wayns logged the larger portion of his minutes during the 2nd half, notching a single assist (a good looking entry pass) while scoring 16 points (for the game high). No question he will be an impact player in time...can he involve his team mates a bit more? Terrific speed and court vision though.
4. Antonio Pena logged a double-double, scoring 10 rebounds and 12 points in 25 minutes of play. This was his first as a Wildcat, and I suspect it will not be his last. Congratulations Tone.

Roster Notes
Penn Coach Glen Miller indicated Quaker wing & lead scorer Tyler Bernardini, absent entirely for the 2nd half, was nursing a foot injured during the Penn State game.

And Then There's
The folks at Rush the Court had asked that I do a live blog from the Pavilion concurrent with the game. How could I refuse? The task seemed daunting, as first Rush the Court had to get approval. Many thanks to Michael Sheridan, Villanova's SID who approved and made arrangements. Thanks go out to PeterN with whom I hitched a ride to the game, and mrbb, the Brothers Figg & the Beefer., all of whom made this prodigal alum feel very welcome and very much at home.

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