Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Green's five takeaways from No. 12 Villanova's 91-71 win at DePaul

Photo Credit: Geno Green

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

The No. 12 Villanova Wildcats (20-6, 9-4 Big East) showed once more why they are the gold standard in the Big East with a 91-71 throttling of the DePaul Blue Demons (13-13, 1-12 Big East) at Wintrust Arena to extend their win streak in the series to 20 games. Here are my five takeaways from Chicago for CSO.

1) Wildcats’ three-point barrage:

Given its size disadvantage in the frontcourt to DePaul, Villanova went to its ultimate UNO draw four card with crisp perimeter shooting, making eight of the first 10 on the way to 18-of-26 (69.2 percent).

The biggest of Villanova’s 18 three-point makes came early in the first half as they clung to a 15-12 lead after a missed point-blank layup by DePaul’s Darrius Hall, which resulted in a three-point make from the wing by Saddiq Bey in transition that spearheaded a 13-2 run.

Villanova never looked back, but coach Jay Wright kept things in perspective when it came to the misfortunes of DePaul on the night.

“[DePaul] had some tough breaks and that happens sometimes when things are not going your way and you make the play that will get you back in it. It is the tough side of sports, but [DePaul] kept on fighting and played hard for Dave [Leitao],” Wright said.

2) The versatility of Bey on full display:

While Saddiq Bey proved to be a menace from the perimeter going 5-of-7 with a game-high 22 points, the crisp ball movement would be the strength as the sophomore finished with a game-high seven assists.

Wright loved how Bey got other players involved, but more importantly how other teams now have to game plan in scouting reports going forward.

“[Saddiq] is a really complete player and is really smart. As the season goes on, he is at the top of most teams’ scouting reports and makes good reads when people come to help on him. He finds his teammates and when he is open, he is always prepared to shoot,” Wright said.

3) Cosby-Roundtree’s bench contributions:

While small ball played a pivotal part in Villanova’s win, Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree’s play did not go unnoticed as the size of the junior gave DePaul’s interior defense problems.

A thunderous dunk off a bullet pass from Bey highlighted Cosby-Roundtree’s season-high 11 points, to go along with seven rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench. Cosby-Roundtree focused more on being in the right place at the right time and let everything else fall into place.

“It was me trying to come in and do whatever the team needed,” Cosby-Roundtree said. “Just trying to be on the glass focusing on defensive rebounding and wasn’t worried about scoring. I just knew if I rebounded and played hard for every position I could, then good things would happen.”

4) Moore Gillespie please:

The one-two punch of Villanova’s Justin Moore and Collin Gillespie proved to be too much for DePaul as they went for 17 points each and combined for nine three-point makes.

The ability for the duo to be versatile and attack on the floor at various pressure points led to troubles all around for the Blue Demons defense all game long.

5) DePaul in distress:

After what appeared to be a promising season with a 12-1 mark in non-league play has turned into an utter catastrophe with DePaul not being able to develop an identity in Big East competition.

Lack of adjustments and late-game blowups have led to a 1-12 record in the conference as Dave Leitao’s fifth season has turned into the same story as the previous four in the windy city.

“What’s going on in front of us is a little bit more life than it is basketball in that all of us have to figure out when you face adversity, how best to deal with it,” Leitao said. “You have to be able to give and have to be able to take and somewhere on along the line, we as a group have lost that part if that we had. It becomes more challenging to get back to that place when you are always losing.”