Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Fresh off a tournament-clinching win over a fellow member of the Top-25, the 12th-ranked Villanova Wildcats open the Wells Fargo Center portion of their schedule on Sunday against the winless Delaware Blue Hens.
Delaware has really struggled to open the 2014-15 campaign, losing each of its first four games, the last three being blowouts. The Blue Hens recently concluded a west coast run by dropping an 84-47 decision at Stanford, and that was preceded by a 70-52 loss at Cal State Bakersfield and a 78-60 setback at Cal Poly.
Villanova proved its worth in the recently concluded Legends Classic in Brooklyn by getting past No. 19 Michigan last Tuesday, 60-55. It was the fifth straight triumph for coach Jay Wright's club, which also beat another ranked opponent in No. 14 VCU (77-53) the night before. This is the first of four games the Wildcats will play against regional rivals over the next couple of weeks, with bouts versus La Salle, Saint Joseph's and Temple looming.
Villanova has never lost to Delaware in 12 all-time encounters, and this is the fifth straight season in which the two teams have met.
Delaware shot itself in the foot in the recent loss at Stanford, as the team converted only 29 percent of its field goal attempts, which included a woeful 6-of-21 effort from 3-point range. Conversely, the Cardinal made good on 44.1 percent of their total shots, draining nine treys along the way. Stanford easily won the rebounding battle (49-35), and the home team only committed six turnovers. Cazmon Hayes led the way for the Blue Hens with 15 points, while Chivarsky Corbett came off the bench to chip in 10.
Hayes is averaging 16.5 ppg despite shooting just 31.1 percent from the floor, while Marvin King-Davis nets 11.0 ppg and Kory Holden adds 10.8 ppg to the UD effort, which amounts to a paltry 53.5 ppg behind typical shooting efforts of .293 overall and .295 from beyond the arc. Not surprisingly, the Blue Hens are in the negative in both rebounding (-4.2) and turnover (-3.2) margin, while yielding nearly 20 points more (73.2 ppg) than they're scoring at the moment.
JayVaughn Pinkston was the force Villanova needed late in its recent clash with Michigan, as the senior forward scored the go-ahead basket with 13 seconds remaining in regulation, and then came up with a huge block in helping lead the Wildcats to their second straight victory over a ranked opponent. Dylan Ennis scored 15 points and Daniel Ochefu added 10 more to lead VU, which shot 45.1 percent from the field, while holding the Wolverines to 41.1 percent. The 'Cats controlled the paint with a 30-18 scoring edge, and they finished with a 35-31 rebounding advantage as well.
You would think that with a team as sound as Villanova there would be more prolific individual efforts, but such is not the case as seven guys average between 7.2 and 13.0 ppg, the latter figure belonging to Ennis. Ochefu grabs a club-best 8.2 rpg, whole Ryan Arcidiacono hands out 4.6 apg. As a team, Villanova is averaging 73.4 ppg while allowing a mere 56.6 ppg. Turnovers have been a key stat as well, with the Wildcats committing 10 miscues per game, but their foes being guilty of 17.4 per outing.