Villanova continued in their winning ways with a 87-63 victory over Nebraska. The Wildcats won their 28th straight game at the Pavilion in front of a national audience on Fox Sports 1, as part of the first annual Gavitt Tipoff Games.
This Tipoff honors the late Dave Gavitt, a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, who had a long lasting impact on the game of basketball. Furthermore, it will span over eight years and will continue to put Big Ten schools up against Big East schools.
After beating Fairleigh Dickinson this past Friday (91-54), the Wildcats returned to the hardwood to face off against the Cornhuskers. The two have not played against each other since the 1998-99 season.
Nova jumped in front early with a lead, but the Cornhuskers kept the game close with timely three pointers, two coming from former Kansas Jayhawk Andrew White III, who finished the game with a team-high 18 points.
Continuing to trade baskets, the Cornhuskers went on a 9-2 run to make it 23-16 with 7:41 remaining in the first half. Nova would respond with a 20-0 run to take the lead 36-23 with 1:20 left.
The Wildcats took a 38-25 lead into halftime and would not look back after that.
Coming out of halftime, freshman guard Jalen Brunson, who started the game for the Wildcats, and would later finish the game with 9 points and 6 assists, did not start off the second half on the court but entered the game two minutes into the half.
Jay Wright and his Wildcats took a commanding 66-38 lead after going on a 13-0 run with 8:12 remaining in the second half, which all but put the game away for the 11th ranked team in the country.
The Cornhuskers did not help themselves by shooting 37.7 from the field or turning over the ball 22 times but these are the growing pains that come with having one of the youngest teams in the country.
Nebraska’s Glynn Watson Jr. and Shavon Shields both finished the game with 12 points.
Senior Daniel Ochefu continued to dominate on the offensive end and took advantage of Nebraska forward Jake Hammond’s early foul troubles in the second half after scoring 11 of his 17 points in the first half. He recorded 6 of his 10 rebounds in that same half to earn himself his second double-double of the year.
In addition to Ochefu’s solid outing, former Big East Sixth Man of the Year Josh Hart took full advantage of his opportunity to start and finished the game with 19 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals, and 1 assist. Not to mention the contributions from guards Ryan Arcidiacono and Phil Booth, who scored 15 points and 11 points respectively.
So far so good for Wright and the Wildcats. They will look to earn their 29th straight win at the Pavilion this Friday against East Tennessee State.
Photo courtesy of Bill Streicher- USA TODAY Sports
-(1) Villanova defeats (3) Michigan in the National Championship