Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Nova picks up first win on European tour

Junior guard Dominic Cheek shot 15 of 19 from the field and scored 34 points to lead Villanova to its first win on its European tour, a 94-92 victory over Israel's senior national team.

Nova picks up first win on European tour


With Dominic Cheek sinking shot after shot and freshman Darrun Hilliard playing the point like a seasoned veteran, Villanova picked up the first win of its European tour on Friday night with a 94-92 victory over Israel's senior national team.

In a game played at Almere, The Netherlands, Cheek shot 15 of 19 from the floor -- including 3-of-3 from three-point range -- and scored 34 points to boost the Cats' European mark to 1-2.

"He was awesome," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "Against a great offensive team like Israel, you have to be able to score, and there were times he carried us on offense."

Mouphtaou Yarou contributed 22 points and 12 rebounds and Maalik Wayns added 17 points even though he played just 22 minutes due to foul trouble.

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With Wayns on the bench, Hilliard, a first-year player from Bethlehem Liberty High, took over the point guard duties for much of the second half. In 32 minutes, he finished with eight points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Another freshman, JayVaughn Pinkston, didn't have impressive stats (4 points, 1 rebound) but made some excellent passes down the stretch.

"The young guys, particularly Darrun and JayVaughn, made huge plays for us down the stretch with Maalik out of the game," Wright said.

The Wildcats shot 63.6 percent (35 of 55) from the field, and hit 7-of-11 from three-point land. In a strange statistical quirk, they were credited with just four assists -- and 22 turnovers.

"It sounds crazy to say this in August, but this was a great basketball game and a great win for us," Wright said. "I thought our young guys did a tremendous job against a tough, veteran team that spreads you out defensively."

--Joe Juliano


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About this blog
Joe Juliano first visited the Palestra in 1970 after entering Temple University and became hooked for life on Big Five basketball. He'll always go with that name, figuring if the Big Ten can have 12 teams, why can't the Big Five have six?

Juliano joined the Inquirer in 1985 after 10 years at United Press International and has covered college sports for most of that time. His current beats are Villanova basketball, Penn State football, golf and the Penn Relays. Reach Joe at

Joe Juliano Staff Writer
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