Things stayed civil for the peaceful Quakers of UPenn for a few moments; they even managed to take a 5-4 lead over Big-Five rival Villanova. Then, as quickly as the game began, it was over.
Villanova did not come out with a lackluster first half effort like they did in their season opener against Fairleigh Dickenson. The Wildcats’ starting five quickly opened up a lead and did not look back.
Villanova's sixth man Taylor King entered the game and quickly pulled down three offensive rebounds and drained a three-pointer. He had six points and six rebounds in the first half alone.
In their second game of the season, the Wildcats showed why they are ranked in the top five, and quickly took control.
'Nova led the Quakers by 30 points at the half (55-25). The leading scorer at the half was freshman Maalik Wayns with 10 points; eight other Wildcats had also scored.
Villanova’s bench scored 27 points against F.D.U. in their opener. Against Penn, the bench scored 26 in the first half alone and finished the game with a ridiculous 46 points!
In the second half, Villanova opened with a 7-0 run to stretch the lead to 37. It would get as high as 47 as the Wildcats shot 59 percent from the field (including 11-of-21 from three-point range).
'Nova had 10 players score in this game and finished with six players in double figures (including two more with seven points). The Wildcats played so well that coach Jay Wright didn’t call a single time-out in either half.
With 7:30 left to play in the second half and Nova up big, Wright once again opted to play five freshman at once. For the second straight game the Villanova students chanted, “They’re all freshman!” as the Wildcats’ talented underclassmen showed flashes of things to come in their future at Villanova.
Even walk-on’s Russell Wooten and Jason Colenda got some minutes at the end. Wooten grabbed an offensive rebound and finished it with a lay-up for two points; Colenda did not score (the only other Nova player without a point was freshman Isaiah Armwood).
When the final buzzer sounded, Villanova had outscored Penn 103-65. It was an astounding 103 points, +24 in rebounds (43-19), and zero time-outs for the Wildcats.
Wayns led the 'Cats with 16 points. Corey Stokes, Taylor King, and Scottie Reynolds all added 14. King had seven rebounds, Stokes had five, and Reynolds added five assists. Corey Fisher dropped 13 points and dished eight assists. The sixth leading scorer, F Antonio Pena, finished the game with a double-double: 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Dominic Cheek and Maurice Sutton each added seven points with Sutton pulling down five rebounds as well.
Mouphtauo Yarou, who started the game, added four points and five rebounds.
The Quakers were led by Darren Smith with 21 points, and Rob Belcore with 16 points.
This is the deepest team Villanova has had anytime in recent history (possibly ever) and they are still without senior guard Reggie Redding. Redding will return for the beginning of the Big East season and will add another tough defender to this already loaded team.
The Wildcats are a mix of gritty upperclassmen and talented young players who look to make a lot of noise this season. They next travel to Puerto Rico to play George Mason (2-0) on Thursday afternoon at 2:00 PM.
Only time will tell how good this 'Nova team can actually be, but if this game was any indication, it should be a wild season for these Wildcats.
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