An Evening in South Philadelphia
Having agreed to do a Live Blog for Rush the Court, I arrived at the Wells Fargo Center (the arena formerly known as the Wachovia Center...) and, after a quick bite in the Press Room, headed out to the arena. My struggle with WIFI gremlins at the Rock and Madison Square Garden over the past 12 months have made me a bit paranoid. Overly cautious perhaps, I now pack a netbook in case the laptop and arena WIFI are not on speaking terms. With about an hour to go however, the press area (behind the baskets at the South end of the arena) was not yet assembled. "Give us another 10 minutes" Villanova's SID requested. He explained there was a "water problem". The WFC definitely felt different, as if everyone was a half hour or so behind schedule, or just moving more slowly as the fall semester was winding down. Was the hustle and energy that marked the start of the season settling into a rhythm perhaps? For the first half of the game, though the pace was a surprisingly brisk 37 possessions, both the Blue Hens and the Wildcats played as if they too were caught in the post semester slow down. Only in the last 10 minutes of the game did the two teams seem to approach the task before them with a sense of urgency.
The Athletic Department website posted the official boxscore and the AP wire story, "Double Figures Help No. 10 Villanova Route...", noted the scoring distribution. The breakdown by halves...
|Opponent:||University of Delaware|
Favorable numbers get some green highlighting while the troubling stats get the red treatment. Given the lack of urgency in the first half, I was a little surprised to see so many possessions (about 37), the explanation comes with the turnovers (see the red highlight under Villanova's offense above...), the Wildcats had a lot of them in the first half. While not the scorching, NBA-level pace of the La Salle game, it was higher than projected. Villanova played excellent defense and converted their field goal attempts at a defense level. But the turnovers (and the fouls). The game notes say the Hens had four points off of the fast break, while the 'Cats netted a single point. Delaware definitely took away a weapon, but they could not control Villanova's offense all.
Notes & Observations
1. Corey Fisher led the 'Cats with 21 points on overall shooting of 7-13 (2-5 on three pointers, 5-8 on two pointers) and 5-8 free throw shooting. The senior guard had a stat-stuffer night that included five rebounds, six dimes (and five turnovers) and three steals.
2. Three other 'Cats, Corey Stokes (10), Maalik Wayns (16) and freshman James Bell (10) also scored double digit points.
3. Mouphtaou Yarou became the latest recipient of a "teaching moment". Near the end of the game Coach Wright benched Yarou after the sophomore center exchanged words with Delaware's sophomore forward Josh Brinkley as the concluding act of a "more physical" sequence. Brinkley picked up a technical earlier in the half after senior guard Jawan Carter fouled Maalik Wayns on a Villanova fast break. A Hen player went to the floor while Yarou and Brinkley exchanged words. Brinkley picked up the "T", but Yarou was assessed one just a minute later, as he tangled with Carter over a rebound. Coach Wright pulled him right away and played sophomore Maurice Sutton, as he gave Yarou a few minutes to calm down. For the Hens however, the tension remained just below the surface. Carter's attempted steal later in the period went out of bounds, and when the officials ruled the ball was Villanova's, Coach Monte Ross of Delaware disagreed with the officials' call. He strenuously objected to the call and was slapped with a technical as well. Brinkley drew his second technical (and was ejected from the game) about a minute later. Good theatrics perhaps, but with the clock inside of two minutes and the Wildcats' lead in the 15-20 range, the game was all but over.
4. The freshman James Bell had an active game, and appears well on his way to have full recovery.