Villanova hoops lose opener in Paris

Villanova lost the opening game of its European tour, 69-64, on Tuesday to the senior national team of Senegal in a foul-filled game played in a suburb of Paris.

Junior Dominic Cheek led the Wildcats with 17 points, shooting 7-of-12 from the field and accounting for all three of his team's three-point baskets. Maalik Wayns added 16 points and Mouphtaou Yarou accounted for 15 points and 16 rebounds.

"I thought Mouphtaou Yarou was tremendous," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "They tried to get him out of his game by speaking to him in French but he never responded, never let them get him out of his game."

The game was decided at the free-throw line, where Senegal converted 26 of its 40 free-throw attempts. Villanova scored only 14 times on 26 tries from the stripe. The Wildcats also shot poorly from beyond the arc, going just 3 of 16.

The Wildcats did outrebound Senegal by 51-44, with Isaiah Armwood pulling down eight boards and Wayns six.

"I thought this was a great first game for us," Wright said. "It was very physical. It felt like we were in a Big East game."

Four Villanova freshmen saw action in the game. Darrun Hilliard started and scored three points with a pair of steals. Markus Kennedy had five rebounds and JayVaughn Pinkston four, while Achraf Yacoubou scored the last four points of the third quarter.

Wright also felt the Wildcats handled Senegal's press well even though his team had practiced press offense for only one day preparing for the trip.

The Wildcats will play Senegal again on Wednesday.

--Joe Juliano

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