Villanova Wildcats

Villanova humbled by Big East Tournament win, but has 'a lot of work' to do

Villanova humbled by Big East Tournament win, but has 'a lot of work' to do

NEW YORK -- Two years ago when Villanova won the Big East Tournament, there was bedlam at Madison Square Garden.

The Villanova players celebrated wildly, they ran around the court pumping up the fans, they squeezed every possible moment of joy from the program's first conference tournament title in 20 years.

This time?

A couple high fives and that was it.

It was the most muted celebration you'll ever see.

"I thought about the same thing," Josh Hart said. "I think last time we ran on, we stormed the court, everyone's jumping around, doing all that.

"But I think part of it was just exhaustion. We just played as hard as we could for 40 minutes. And then definitely we know we've got to get a lot better. We've got to keep being coachable. I think that was the other half of that.

"And obviously we're very humble, very honored to win this against a tough Creighton team. Give them all the respect and credit. But we've got to keep getting better."

Villanova beat Creighton, 74-60, to win this year's Big East title game at the Garden on Saturday night, and of course, the biggest difference between this championship and the one in 2015 is that this is a group of players that celebrated a much larger championship a year ago.

And there's no denying winning an NCAA title gives a team a different perspective on winning a conference championship.

Why no celebration? Because after celebrating a national title it would seem trivial to celebrate a conference title?

"No, I don't think it's that," Kris Jenkins said. "It's just we’ve got a lot of work to still do, man. That's all it is. We're focused. Just watch Selection Sunday together and move on.

"We're just that focused, and we still have a lot we want to accomplish. This is a great win for our program and our school, but we still have a lot we want to accomplish."

Villanova is now 31-3 and is expected to be a No. 1 seed when the NCAA Tournament bracket is announced Sunday evening. The Wildcats will open play Thursday in Buffalo in a 1-16 game, then, if all goes as expected Thursday, play for a berth in the Sweet 16 on Saturday.

Senior Darryl Reynolds had an interesting take on the absence of a wild celebration Saturday night.

"There is a looking-ahead feeling, you can't deny that," he said. "The season isn't over. Last year, we got to this point and if we lost this game, I don't think we would have won the national championship.

"Because last year's game against Seton Hall showed us if we paid that much closer to detail, we got it. We have everything else, just have to pay that much more attention to detail.

"So I think at the end of this game, we realized, 'OK, last year we didn’t let it crush us. We learned from it, and we kept moving forward.' This year we don’t let it make us, and we learn from it and we still keep on moving forward."

Big run at end of 1st half lifts No. 10 Villanova over Ohio

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AP Images/Laurence Kesterson

Big run at end of 1st half lifts No. 10 Villanova over Ohio

BOX SCORE 

Less than 72 hours after a humbling loss to one team from Ohio, Villanova used two of its young standouts to win against another squad from the Buckeye State.

Saddiq Bey scored 19 points and Justin Moore added 18 to lead No. 10 Villanova past Ohio 78-54 on Saturday.

The win came after a 76-51 road loss to No. 16 Ohio State on Wednesday night. Villanova fell behind the Buckeyes early and never recovered.

"In that game, we kind of backed down," Moore said. "We learned that you have to come out and you have to keep fighting. That's what Villanova does and that's what we were able to do today."

After a sluggish start Saturday, Villanova (2-1) broke the game open with a 27-4 run in the final 6:36 of the half, turning a one-point deficit into a 43-21 lead.

Bey and Moore combined for 9-for-12 shooting and 4 of 6 from beyond the 3-point line for 26 points in that run. The Wildcats finished 14 of 31 from long range.

"I thought we had just two or three bad three-point attempts today," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "I think the numbers are a reflection of Justin and Saddiq moving the ball and getting good shot opportunities."

Ohio shot 3 of 20 from behind the arc, with its first conversion from Ben Vander Plas three minutes into the second half after a 0-for-10 start. The Bobcats committed 16 turnovers.

Vander Plas led the Bobcats (3-1) with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Jason Preston added 16 points and eight assists.

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had 11 points and 11 rebounds and Colin Gillespie scored 10 points for Villanova.

"I told our guys that with the exception of that seven-minute stretch at the end of the first half, we played pretty even with them" Ohio coach Jeff Boals said. "Against a team like (Villanova), the margin for error is pretty small. It was a good teaching moment for our guys."

Big picture 

Villanova: After losing by 25 at Ohio State on Wednesday night in the Gavitt Games, Villanova is likely to take a slight dip in the next AP rankings.

Ohio: After starting the season 3-0 with road wins against St. Bonaventure and Iona, the Bobcats had trouble dealing with Villanova's forwards.

Up next 

Villanova: Plays Middle Tennessee on Thursday in Myrtle Beach Invitational in Conway, South Carolina.

Ohio: Plays No. 24 Baylor on Thursday in the Myrtle Beach Invitatio

No. 10 Villanova falls flat in blowout loss to No. 18 Ohio State

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USA Today Images/Joe Maiorana

No. 10 Villanova falls flat in blowout loss to No. 18 Ohio State

BOX SCORE 

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Not even Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann saw this coming.

His 18th-ranked Buckeyes looked NCAA Tournament-ready in their third game, racing out to a big lead, playing solid defense and smothering No. 10 Villanova 76-51 on Wednesday night for a significant early-season victory.

"Probably two or three times have I ever been part of a game as a head coach where almost everything kind of goes your way," Holtmann said. "And that's reality. Very rarely do you have games like that."

Ohio State (3-0) came out firing, with Duane Washington Jr. opening the game with a pair of 3s and CJ Walker adding another for a quick 9-0 lead. The Buckeyes bolted to a 19-3 lead, led by as many as 27 and held a 40-22 advantage at the intermission of this Gavitt Tipoff Game, a November series that matches up the Big Ten and the Big East.

"We knew we had to have a big start because we've been starting games off slow," said freshman guard D.J. Carton, who finished with 11 points and was one of five Ohio State players to reach double figures.

Villanova didn't show signs of life until a 9-0 run late in the first half. But Kyle Young started the second half with a dunk and the Buckeyes never backed off the gas, leading by as many as 30.

"Our players' preparation and their play was the reason for tonight's win," Holtmann said. "I thought across the board they were really ready for this game."

Washington led the Buckeyes with 14 points on 4-for-6 shooting from beyond the arc. Luther Muhammad had 11 points and Kaleb Wesson added 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Cold Wildcats 

Villanova never could find its shot.

The Wildcats hit 30.6 percent from the floor, including 10 of 30 from 3-point range. They were held to a dozen points in the first 16 minutes, and the Buckeyes consistently controlled play in the paint.

Jermaine Samuels had 14 points and Cole Swider had 11 for the Wildcats (1-1).

"We have a lot to learn," said coach Jay Wright, whose teams have won two national championships in the past five seasons.

"These guys have to learn to play together," he said. "They have to learn to trust each other."

Big picture 

Villanova: Starting a pair of freshmen, Villanova could never catch up with the hustling Buckeyes. The crowd in Columbus chanted "overrated," which could be the case.

"There's things we should have been prepared for," Wright said. "(Ohio State) was prepared. We as a staff have to go back and look at what are we doing. Do we have too much stuff in, where basic concepts are not really dialed in on?"

Ohio State: Most everything was clicking in the Buckeyes' third game of the season. If they can sustain it, they should be able to play with nearly any team in the country.

"Tonight was one of those nights where it was just flowing," said Walker, who had 10 points.

Poll implications 

Ohio State should take a big leap, while Villanova can expect to drop out of the top 10.

Tip-ins

The 25-point margin of victory over an AP Top 10 team was the largest for the Buckeyes since March 6, 2011, when they beat Wisconsin 93-65. ... Wesson had his second double-double in three games. ... The Buckeyes are 3-0 in Gavitt Tipoff games. The Wildcats fell to 2-2 in the event.

Up next 

Villanova: Hosts Ohio on Saturday.

Ohio State: Hosts Stetson on Monday.