Saturday, February 27, 2016

Ochefu's double-double puts top-ranked Villanova back on track

                                Photo Credit: Geno Green

After allowing a season-high 90 points at Xavier on Feb. 24, top-ranked Villanova responded to a feisty challenge from the Marquette Golden Eagles on Saturday.

Daniel Ochefu's third double-double in BIG EAST play (18 points and 12 rebounds) contributed to Villanova's 89-79 win at Marquette. 

Wright gave Ochefu high regards for overcoming adversity through numerous injuries for his first double-double since the Seton Hall game on Jan. 6.

"Daniel played with confidence and the first Marquette game was where he got hurt and we have got him rolling since returning from the flu and concussion," Wright said. "I am really happy for him and we need to use him because he is a force."

From the outset, Ochefu exerted his will in the paint and as a result, Marquette's Luke Fischer found himself in an all-too familiar predicament with four fouls with 9:49 left in regulation.

Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski sensed utter frustration over Fischer's consistent foul troubles throughout the season.

"Luke was in foul trouble a lot and is a little bit of a mystery to me, but Ochefu is a really great player and a veteran," Wojciechowski said. "Because they surround him with four guys who are deadly open shooters, it is very hard to bring help and what you end up doing is having to play [Ochefu] one-on-one and it is very hard."

Being the de facto team to beat in the BIG EAST since its current incarnation in 2013, Wright mentioned about Villanova being the opponent for National Marquette Day the last two seasons.

"I actually talked to Wojo about how funny that it is two years in a row [National] Marquette Day is Villanova," Wright said. "[National] Marquette Day is cool because there are a ton of fans in the hotel and are very nice. 

Balanced Scoring:

Versatile play by Villanova's guards have been a staple over the years and the Marquette game reinforced the status quo as Josh Hart and Ryan Arcidiacono finished with 19 and 10 points, respectively.

After being limited to 19 minutes at Xavier due to foul trouble, Villanova's Kris Jenkins played 35 minutes and tied a game-high with 19 points, on 5-of-12 shooting.

Attendance at the BMO Harris Bradley Center:

The Wildcats and Golden Eagles played in front of the seventh largest crows in school history with 19,043 on hand for Saturday's game.

Keeping perspective going forward:

Even in victory, Wright feels the Wildcats defense can clean up on miscellaneous errors.

"It would seem disappointing given how sloppy we played with our turnovers, but Marquette is the best in the league in turning people over," Wright said. "We shot 57 percent, but those 17 turnovers committed and every time we turned it over, [Marquette] scored and that was huge."

At 25-4 overall and 14-2 in the BIG EAST, Villanova closes out conference play with home games against DePaul (The Pavilion) on March 1 and long-time rival Georgetown (Wells Fargo Center) March 5.

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