Wright gushes after No. 12 Wildcats lose at No. 8 Virginia
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Villanova’s game at Vo. 8 Virginia served a significant purpose for the No. 12 Wildcats, coach Jay Wright said, giving them experience against a tough opponent.
The Cavaliers obliged by showing Wright’s team how efficiency looks, and how effective it can be.
“We played a better team today,” Wright said after Virginia used a strong second half to earn an 86-75 victory on Saturday. “Their attention to detail, their execution is just on another level than ours right now.”
Patiently driving to the basket at every opportunity for the first 28 minutes, the Cavaliers had made only one 3-pointer when they found themselves trailing 43-41. Over the next 3 1/2 minutes, they made four more 3-pointers while holding the Wildcats scoreless in a 14-0 run.
“I have such respect for the way they play. Any little mistake you make execution-wise, offensively or defensively, they take advantage of it,” Wright said.
Anthony Gill scored 22 points, Malcolm Brogdon had 20 and London Perrantes scored 15 of his 19 in the second half as the Cavaliers (9-1) won their eighth straight.
Virginia led by as many as 13, but saw the Wildcats (8-2) get to within four a few times, but Virginia responded every time. The finished shooting 56.5 percent, hit 8 of 12 3-point shots and were 18 for 22 from the foul line in the second half, when Villanova was forced to foul.
Kris Jenkins scored 23 points, getting 19 in the second half, and Daniel Ochefu had 13 before fouling out late in the physical marquee matchup for Villanova (8-2), but the Cavaliers outrebounded the Wildcats 31-19.
The Wildcats made 10 3-pointers and shot 49 percent.
The Cavaliers trailed 43-41 and had only made one 3-pointer when Brogdon made one with 12:03 to play.
While Villanova missed its next seven shots, Perrantes added another 3-pointer for Virginia, and then a conventional three-point play, giving Virginia nine points in a span of 1:19. Two free throws by Brogdon and then another 3-pointer by Devon Hall finished a 14-0 burst, giving the Cavaliers their largest lead to that point at 55-43 with 9:11 left.
It also brought the crowd at John Paul Jones Arena to its feet, celebrating the play at both ends.
Jenkins scored 13 points over the next 4 1/2 minutes as the Wildcats closed within four, but Perrantes’ third 3-pointer of the half, an inside basket by Gill and Brogdon’s 3-pointer pushed the lead back to 76-66 with 1:55 to play, and the Cavaliers made their free throws in the closing minutes to hang on for the win.
Virginia led 33-29 after a first half marked by good defense, good shooting and sloppy ball-handling.
SHARING THE BALL:
Five different Wildcats scored in a 10-2 first-half run that gave them an 18-14 lead.
A short time later, five different Cavaliers scored in an 11-0 run that opened a 27-20 lead.
Villanova: The Wildcats entered the game averaging 31.1 3-point attempts, and 9.4 made 3-pointers, or just 30.4 percent. More than half of their field goal attempts in their first nine games came from beyond the 3-point line. ... Averaging 9.7 turnovers, the Wildcats had eight by halftime.
Virginia: Virginia, which beat No. 20 West Virginia 70-54 in its previous outing on Dec. 8, was playing consecutive ranked teams in nonconference play for the first time since Nov. 26-27 and Dec. 4, 2002, when it faced No. 15 Kentucky, No. 19 Indiana and No. 21 Michigan State. ... Virginia had eight first-half turnovers. It came into the game averaging 8.7 per game. They surpassed their average by throwing it away on their first possession of the second half.
Villanova will host Delaware in its annual alumni night on Tuesday.
Virginia continues a four-game homestand with a game against California on Tuesday night.