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.

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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