Houston Baptist could've guessed the #17 Wildcats would've caused a blowout.
The Cats had just won games over URI and UPENN at the Palestra but they came at a cost. Dwayne Anderson returned from injury in the Penn game only to (re)injure his foot. He limped off the court and did not return. Center Cassiem Drummond, unhappy about playing time, decided to leave Villanova. He is still undecided about where he will transfer.
It was the perfect time to regroup at home against Houston-Baptist before their first big-time game of the year against Texas (in MSG) next Tuesday as part of the Jimmy-V Classic.
The Wildcats came out shooting and built an early lead on very balanced scoring. The first five baskets came from five different starters. Clark and Redding also scored quickly upon entering the game as subs.
The game, as expected, was a blow-out from the start. Houston-Baptist (a team that sports the lowest RPI in division 1) just couldn't stop Villanova on offense or find any real rhythm when they had the ball.
On the other side Villanova got very balanced scoring as everyone contributed. They shot well from the line, made great passes, and got everyone involved...with one exception, Frank Tchuisi. Never heard of him? I'm not surprised. Since arriving at Nova four years ago, Tchuisi hasn't had a lot of playing time.
Last night, having lost Drummond for good and playing without Anderson yet again, I think Jay Wright should have given Tchuisi some serious minutes at forward. Cunningham and Pena have been great so far this season but both forwards are prone to fouls being called on them and there might come a time (already has this season) when Wright will need to call on Tchuisi to give him some minutes (especially at the end of the first half if the other forwards are in foul trouble).
Houston-Baptist would have been the perfect time to give him some non-garbage minutes to see what he can do before playing teams likes Texas, Big-5, and Big-East opponents. Wright didn't see it that way and left Tchuisi on the bench until late in the second half where he played six minutes without attempting a field-goal. Looks like Jay Wright prefers baptism by fire for Tchuisi against Texas over Houston-Baptist.
Every Wildcat starter scored in double figures. Reynolds scored a game high 23 points and Corey Stokes added 22 (including 6 of 9 from behind the arc). All in all Villanova shot 56 percent from the field, 48 percent from three-point range, and 86 percent from the charity stripe on their way to a 93-57 blowout.
On the other side, Sauls and Puzyk scored 22 and 17 to lead Houston-Baptist (their only two players in double digit scoring).
The blowout was to be expected. The lack of playing time for Tchuisi was a little questionable. What does it all mean? Jay Wright, the Wildcats, and the rest of us will have to wait until they play Texas in NYC this Tuesday night to find out.