Men’s Basketball Plays Villanova Wildcats

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Wells Fargo Center, an arena located on Broad Street in Philadelphia, a stone throw away from the Eagles’ Lincoln Financial Field and the Phillies’ Citizen Bank Part that plays host to the Flyers and normally plays home to the Philadelphia 76er’s. With the NBA lockout in full effect, the Villanova Wildcats of the Big East Conference were keeping the house warm NYIT Bears in an exhibition match to kick off the college basketball season. The less than capacity crowd consisted of Villanova regulars interlaced with the casual fan and those from NYIT. The realization of a talented Division I opponent lent itself to early “jitters” in the words of the Bear’s Jahari McKnight with the Wildcats jumping out to a 22-6 lead after only four minutes. That would be the extent of Villanova’s first half onslaught, the Bears resilient play mostly on the offensive end broke the early game tension of a blowout. A fairly balanced attack from the guards kept the Bears looking formidable picking up the slack as the big men were outrebounded 56-30 by game’s end, not for lack of hard work. The speed of the Wildcat guards paired with the notable size of their big men (6’10” and 6’11” respectively) made a first half margin of 18 points a welcomed result.

“Great effort even after the mistakes” were the words of Bears head coach Sal Lagano in reference to the push made to start the second half, the Wells Fargo Center held thick uncertainty as to whether the underdog Bears would make a game of it at that point. Holding the Wildcats to two scoreless minutes there looked to be a chance but that chance quickly faded over the next four minutes which would see Villanova go up 18 never to relinquish the lead again. The Bears would continue to fight hard not once showing frustration at the circumstances that would lead to a 91-58 loss.

“Eventually talent takes over,” said coach Lagano. His pride in his team was evident, “We can always reference this game” he continued, showing belief that the game would give confidence to the team going forward. The heads of the team weren’t hung low, they came across as understanding the games result “You hope for carryover…the essence of the schedule is Division II” said Athletic Director Clyde Doughty who was also excited to have our team out there against a perennial powerhouse “It was a great opportunity…we’ve been trying to get Villanova for five years” he laughed. The hope is that the Bears can channel the energy from last night’s game going forward into their Division II schedule, if so this could be a special season for the men’s basketball team.

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Men’s Basketball Plays Villanova Wildcats