With each passing win comes increased confidence for Villanova’s basketball team.
Wins over Kansas and Iowa in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament were a major confidence booster. Ye the Wildcats also received tremendous confidence with their 98-68 win over St. Joseph’s in a Big Five game at Hagan Arena.
Villanova led by four at the half before surging in the final 20 minutes, where the Wildcats were 9 for 16 from beyond the arc.
“This is an important win because we all know this is one of the toughest environments in college basketball,” coach Jay Wright said of playing at Hagan Arena.
The capacity crowd of 4,200 was extremely loud until Villanova silenced the Hawks fans with its dominating play in the second half.
“We have great respect for St. Joseph’s passion, great respect for their program,” Wright said. “Their fans are as loyal and passionate as anybody.”
The players say their confidence keeps building. The obvious key for the 9-0 Wildcats is not to become overconfident.
“We believe we are playing good basketball but we are playing good basketball because we are sticking to what we do,” said James Bell who had career highs in both points (25) and rebounds (14) against the Hawks. “We are defending, we are rebounding and we are getting what we want out of what we do.”
Then he stated the obvious.
“It is very enjoyable to do it the right way,” Bell said.
The Wildcats have been a selfless group, and are playing together extremely well. Wright used two of his veterans, senior Bell and junior JayVaughn Pinkston as an example of this selflessness.
“When get to be a junior and senior you are able to figure it out,” Wright said. “They both give the ball up to everybody and are our leading scorers.”
The point is well taken. In Vilanova’s offense, if one passes the ball quickly, he is liable to receive another pass back just as soon.
It’s all part of playing together and the Wildcats have certainly done that as the record shows.