NCAA

Instant Replay: No. 2 Villanova 88, St. Joe's 57

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Instant Replay: No. 2 Villanova 88, St. Joe's 57

BOX SCORE

VILLANOVA, Pa. — Villanova showed no mercy Saturday against rival St. Joe’s.

The No. 2 Wildcats handed the Hawks their fourth straight loss, a 88-57 loss at The Pavilion. 

Both teams got off to sluggish starts, but Villanova was able to find its rhythm, ending the first half on a 20-4 run.  Seniors Kris Jenkins and Josh Hart accounted for 15 and 12 points, respectively, in the half. 

Hart recorded his first triple-double of the year with 16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. 

St. Joe’s dynamic backcourt of Shavar Newkirk and Lamarr Kimble — the team’s two leading scorers — did their best to keep the Hawks in it.

Newkirk nailed a contested three with 8:40 to go in the first half to give the Hawks a 23-22 lead before 'Nova pulled away. Kimble led the way for the Hawks with 15 points.

Villanova moves to 8-0 with the win, while St. Joe’s falls to 3-4 on the young season. 

Turning point
Just when it looked like St. Joe’s might be able to hang around with the reigning champions, the Wildcats pulled off a massive 20-4 run to end the half. During that span, 'Nova found its shot, shooting 8 of 11 to end the half. The Wildcats began to assert themselves on the other side of the floor, too, forcing six Hawks’ turnovers in the final six minutes to pull away. 

Senior dominance
With the rest of the team struggling in the early going, Hart and Jenkins kept the Wildcats afloat early, before Villanova went on its run. The duo finished with 27 of the Wildcats’ 44 first-half points. Jenkins finished with 20 points, five rebounds and four assists. 

Inside the box score
• The Wildcats shot a lights-out 47 percent (16-34) from three. Jenkins led the way with four treys. 

• Freshman forward Charlie Brown kept the Hawks in the game early, scoring the team’s first six points. Brown finished with eight poijnts

• St. Joe’s hung around early thanks to some hot shooting (4 for 9) from deep in the first half. 

• With 11 Saturday, Newkirk fell short of a 20-plus point game for just the second time in seven games this year.

History
Villanova has won the last five games between the two schools, and leads the all-time series, 49-25. The Hawks’ last win in the series came in 2011, a 74-58 win at Hagan Arena. 

Up next
Villanova continues its Big Five tour with a matchup vs. La Salle at the Palestra Tuesday.

St. Joe’s has a week off before taking on Drexel on Dec. 11.

Knicks will reportedly reach out to Jay Wright about coaching job

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Knicks will reportedly reach out to Jay Wright about coaching job

Fresh off a second national championship in three years, this was bound to happen. Jay Wright is a hot name. 

And according to the New York Daily News, the Knicks plan on reaching out to Wright about their vacant head coaching job. 

Just don’t expect Wright to be interested. 

The 56-year-old coach has been determined to build Villanova into a powerhouse since he took the head coaching gig way back in 2001 and he’s finally done that. On the surface, maybe some think that would be enough to make him want to take his coaching to the top league in the world. Not so fast. 

In a recent interview with The Athletic, Wright said pretty flatly that he’s staying at Villanova because he loves it there. 

“The NBA does intrigue me,” Wright said. “That challenge is appealing but it’s not worth giving up working with these guys. The whole thing is, to take a new challenge you have to give up what you have. I don’t want to give up what I have. Would I like to coach in the NBA? Yes. But I have to give this up in order to do that, and I don’t see that happening.”

In that interview, Wright talked about his time at Hofstra and quoted Jim Valvano, who once said, ‘Don’t mess with happy.’ That was true at Hofstra until the Villanova job came around, so maybe there’s a chance the Knicks could blow him away. It just doesn’t seem likely. 

The Knicks just fired head coach Jeff Hornacek after a 29-53 record in 2017. The Knicks haven’t had a winning record since 2012-13. 

The New York Daily News cites a source, who said the Knicks believe Wright would be a “perfect candidate for a rebuilding club.” The Knicks might be right, but don’t bet on them getting Wright. 

Jalen Brunson hires agent, declares for NBA draft

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Jalen Brunson hires agent, declares for NBA draft

Villanova is losing its second star player in two days. 

Guard Jalen Brunson has decided to hire an agent and enter the 2018 NBA Draft, he wrote in a letter to Nova Nation on ESPN. He will forego his senior season at Villanova after an incredible college career. 

This news comes a day after his teammate Mikal Bridges announced he will also head to the NBA draft.

“It is with great honor and privilege that I have called Villanova University my home for the past three years,” Brunson wrote in ESPN. “When I decided to commit to Coach Jay Wright and the basketball program, I was driven by three goals: getting my education, competing at the highest level and winning a national championship. While I pride myself on remaining disciplined and focused to achieve these goals, I have grown as a man and have established lifelong relationships with my teammates, classmates, members of the basketball staff, fellow student-athletes and the wonderful educators and administrators of this prestigious university.”

Brunson leaves Villanova as one of the greatest players in Wildcats history, helping lead Villanova to its second national championship in three years. 

The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 18.9 points, 4.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game this season. Brunson was named the Big East Player of the Year and was the Wooden Award and Naismith Award winner this season.