Villanova vs. West Virginia: Wildcat Defense Peaks Against Mountaineers
The Villanova Wildcats, led by their dynamic duo of Corey Fisher and Maalik Wayns, easily handled the West Virginia Mountaineers at the Wells Fargo Center, in a nationally televised game on Saturday afternoon, 66-50. Wayns, who was the high scorer in the game, had 17 points off the bench, followed closely by Fisher who scored 16.
After West Virginia bolted out to a 10-4 lead, the Wildcats scrambled back to tie the game at 10-10 on a Dominic Cheek dunk. West Virginia briefly went back ahead 12-10, before Fisher scored 11 straight points to put the Wildcats in the lead for good 21-14. During his run, Fisher hit two three point shots, a two point bucket, and converted an old fashioned three point play. After the Mountaineers John Flowers hit a three to cut Villanova’s margin to four points (21-17), it was Wayns time to shine. Wayns scored 7 of the last 9 points of the half for the Cats, providing a 30-19 lead.
Early in the second half, fueled by Kevin Jones and Flowers, the Mountaineers made a run to make it a three point game, 36-33. But the Wildcats responded, mainly on contributions from their front-court of Mouphtaou Yarou, Antonio Pena, and Isaiah Armwood, and boosted their lead back to double digits 50-40 with 8: 29 left in the game. Once again Fisher and Wayns took over and helped propel the Wildcats to a 21 point lead on a Yarou dunk (off of a nice feed from Fisher) to make it 64-43. Villanova ended up on top at the buzzer with an impressive 66-50 win over the 25th ranked Mountaineers.
Joining Fisher & Wayns in double figure scoring were Yarou with 11, and Pena with 10. Dominic Cheek paced Villanova with 9 rebounds. The Cats won the battle of the boards 35-29. Fisher had 5 assists and only one turnover. Wayns had 4 assists. For the Mountaineers, Jones had 16 points and Flowers added 15 points. Jones also grabbed 6 boards.
Coach Jay Wright said, “This was our best defensive effort of the year.” In the first-half the Wildcats held West Virginia to 6 for 25, or 24.0% shooting from the field. Wright also said, “Out rebounding them was big for us.” And in the first half the Wildcats won the battle of the boards by a 21-14 margin.
Villanova moved to 19-4 overall, 7-3 in the Big East, as a result of the win. West Virginia, with the loss, fell to 15-7 overall, and 6-4 in the Big East. Next up for Villanova is an away rematch with Big East foe Rutgers at 7 pm on Wednesday night, February 9th. Villanova beat Rutgers 81-65 at the Pavilion on January 2nd. West Virginia, coached by Bob Huggins, hosts Big East rival Pittsburgh in Morgantown at 7 pm (ESPN) on Monday night, February 7th.
An interesting side story from this game was the appearance by a small group of Villanova students holding up signs supporting the protesters in Egypt and urging Mubarak to leave.
Post game press conference video and photo slide show of today’s game below: