Currently on a four-game winning streak, Villanova will meet NJIT on Friday night at the Pavilion, its final game before the start of its Big East schedule.
The Wildcats (8-4) are coming off an 83-56 victory over Monmouth on Saturday night, a game that saw them shoot better than 68 percent from three-point range where they made 15 of 22 shots. The team shot almost 55 percent overall.
Sophomore forward JayVaughn Pinkston, now Villanova’s sixth man, leads the team in scoring at 12.4 points per game. He is followed by junior forward James Bell at 11.5 and freshman point guard Ryan Arcidiacano at 11.1.
Arcidiacano leads the Wildcats in assists (3.6), minutes played (32.8) and free-throw percentage (82.1).
The Highlanders, of Newark, N.J., in their seventh season of Division I basketball, are 6-5, the best record in their Division I history through 11 games. Senior Chris Flores is their leading scorer at 17.4 points per game.
The Wildcats are shooting the ball better, with their three-point percentage now over 37 percent. But they still turn the ball over too much – 19 against Monmouth increased their average to 16.4 per game – and need to defend the three-point arc better as they prepare for their Big East season, which begins Wednesday night against St. John’s at the Pavilion.
“I think we’ve gotten better and we have the potential to get a lot better,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said in on the team’s web site. “We have been turning the ball over a lot. But our defense is getting better, our three-point defense is a lot better and we’re starting to understand where we have to go with the ball on offense. Every game we see a little piece of it fall into place.”
The Wildcats have been getting good production off their bench. Junior guard Tony Chennault scored a season-high 11 points against Monmouth, and sophomore guard Achraf Yacoubou is averaging 8.5 points in his last four games.
Overall, the bench is averaging 18.0 points and 13.9 rebounds.