By Sean Kennedy
Villanova 87, DePaul 62
With a huge rematch looming Sunday against Creighton, Villanova could have been caught in a classic ‘looking ahead’ situation against a DePaul team that, on paper, the Wildcats should have no problem defeating. However, Jay Wright has his group focused and playing disciplined basketball this season and it was no surprise when Villanova handled business right from the opening tip. The Wildcats used an 11-0 first half run to build a double-digit lead that they would never relinquish, easily dispatching a Blue Demons team at the bottom of the Big East standings.
As in the teams’ earlier meeting this season, Villanova shot better than 50% from the floor (55%), also hitting a season-high 15 threes on the night. Darrun Hilliard led the perimeter onslaught, setting a career-high by making 5 threes on 7 tries, scoring a team-high 22 points. Ryan Arcidiacono chipped in with a perfect 4-4 mark behind the arc for 14 points. With the Blue Demons in the rear view mirror, the Wildcats can turn their full attention to Creighton, the team that served them their only Big East loss this season.
7:00 PM: Drexel (13-10, 5-5 CAA) @ Charleston (12-13, 4-6 CAA)
Despite now having lost two opening-day starters for the season due to injury, Drexel has soldiered on and won two straight to get back to .500 in conference play. The Dragons will look to keep flying high against a Charleston squad which has lost 4 of their last 5 games. In their first season in the CAA, the Cougars have found things more difficult than the Southern Conference, where they perennially finished at or near the top of the Southern division.
The main problem for Charleston as been a moribund offense, as the Cougars have struggled greatly offensively on the season, sporting just a 41.7 FG%. One area they have excelled is on the boards, where they’re one of the more proficient teams in the nation, starting four guys 6’5″ or taller. Senior forward Willis Hall leads the team in both scoring (12.4) and rebounding (9.2). The Dragons will need a solid effort from Rodney Williams on the frontline in place of the injured Kaz Abif. If Drexel is still going to make some noise in the CAA, these are the type of games they can’t let slip through their fingers.