Villanova, designated as the "North Region Pod Site" for the 2010 NIT Tip-Off hosted the Red Foxes of Marist University in first round action Tuesday night at the Pavilion on the Mainline campus. They were not very good hosts as they crushed the Red Foxes 84-47 and ran their Pavilion winning streak to 37 consecutive games. For Marist, a team that logged a 1-29 record last season, this was no way to open their 2011 campaign.
The Wildcats took a 3-0 lead two minutes in on a Corey Stokes three pointer, and the two teams "played tag" for the next four minutes. Villanova retook the lead for good on a Maalik Wayns three point jumper at the 13 minute mark of the first period. Fueled by a 16-1 run in the middle of the first period, the 'Cats stretched the lead to 15 points, 24-9, before the Red Foxes broke back with a 10-4 run to trim Nova's lead to eight points. The 'Cats broke back with a 8-2 run before Marist guard Anell Alexis hit a three pointer to close out the half, leaving Villanova with an 11 point lead, 36-25 going into the locker room. Villanova used the first 10 minutes of the second half to take a 19-10 run and pad their lead out to 20. Marist offered resistance, but steadily surrendered points as Villanova spent the last 10 minutes padding the lead. Marist failed to score at all in the last five minutes as the 'Cats tallied the last 16 points of the game and bringing the total to 88-47.
VUhoops.com has posted a quick recap, "Villanova Mauls Marist" with the results of their Closest to the Pin contest. Chris over at The Nova Blog used his report, "postGame: Villanova 84, Marist 47 " to complement the team on their strong showing after a less-than-stellar performance in the Bucknell game. Chris gave a hat tip to sophomores Dom Cheek and Maurice Sutton, citing Sutton's numbers in detail. Both Chris and Ed '77 mentioned that five Wildcats, Maalik Wayns (game-high 17 points), Dom Cheek (15), Maurice Sutton (13), Mouphtaou Yarou (10) and Corey Fisher (10) logged double digit points.
The official website also posted the boxscore and an AP wire story. The breakdown by halves...
The pace was consistent from half to half. I suspect 34 possessions per half (about 30 - 36 field goal attempts with 5 - 10 offensive rebounds and fewer than five turnovers each half) is Villanova's "preferred pace". The average timespan to run an offensive set (or two) would be about 19 seconds (about 68 possesions in 20 minutes). If the Wildcats follow the pattern described by Ken Pomeroy back in 2009, the earlier in the possession they get a shot off, the higher the efficiency (more likely they are to post points).
Half Time Adjustments
The red highighted stats suggest the Wildcat's offense started slowly. While a 104 offensive efficiency (about 1.04 points per possession) is above the 100 mark, but well below the 110+ efficiency typically posted by Villanova's offense. Half-over-half, the only stepback was offensive rebounding (OR%); the Wildcats dominated the boards early on, but did not contest as successfully, despite Marist's drop off in conversion efficiency in the second half.
The seniors did not log 90% of the available minutes at their positions, a good sign. Fisher, Stokes and Pena would be worn out by March.
Notes & Observations
1. The striking stat is possession rate (Poss% above). Note how virtually everyone who logged playing time 50.0% and above logged Possessions in the 20% range. Pena, Wayns and Stokes were "Major Contributors", while the others were all "Significant Contributors". The profile is similar to that developed by Syracuse last season. The offense can be difficult to defend if all five players on the court are nearly equally capable of scoring. Note the shot rates (Shot%) were, like the Poss%, very close.
2. Compare each player's Shot%, eFG% & PPWS above. Pena and Sutton excepted, the players who had problems converting tended to shoot less as well, a good sign. Not shown but worth noting, Fisher, Wayns and Pena logged assist rates above 20%, Fisher's assist rate was 33.0 for this game, well above the rate he posted in the Bucknell game. Pena apparently recognized he had problems and looked for teammates when the defense closed. His rate, 23.7, is comparable to a point guard. Evidence of a well coordinated "helping" offense.
3. Neither Bucknell nor Marist have notably efficient offenses. While the 'Cats were able to hold both well below the 1.0 point per possession threshold, only stronger competition will show how solid the defense can be.
1. The freshmen (James Bell and JayVaughn Pinkston) continue to be DNP.
2. Fifth year senior Russell Wooten appeared for a minute at the end of the game.
NIT Second Round
Villanova will face Boston University in a second round game on Wednesday at 8:00pm. BU, beat George Washington of the Atlantic-10 Conference 76-67 in their first round game. The Nova/BU winner will advance to the tournament semi-final in Madison Square Garden November 24th. GWU and Marist will face off in the consolation game Wednesday at 5:30pm. Both games Wednesday to be played in the Pavilion.