After falling as twenty point victims of to old fashioned “Hoya Destroya’’ performance (without Patrick Ewing or Alonzo Mourning doing the dirty work) a stunned Villanova had to wait nearly a week before getting to take its frustrations out on somebody else.
By then it didn’t even matter to the No. 7 ranked Wildcats that next up was Creighton, the same team which lit them up for 197 points in blowout losses by a combined 49 points last season.
“We know what happened last year, but that wasn’t in our minds,” said Ryan Arcidiacono, who got Sunday’s 71-50 rout started with a corner three, as Villanova scored the game’s first 15 points and never looked back. “We know that we were coming off getting our butts kicked down at Georgetown.So we just tried to do what Coach said and get back to the way we knew how to play. We were really battling in practice. We were eager to get back on the court.We know how to play tough. But we didn’t do that against Georgetown and it was eating at us.”
Against Creighton they displayed the kind of hunger Jay Wright felt was missing against the Hoyas, who physically pushed the ‘Cats around and dominated them at both ends of the court.
“We got smacked in the face,” said Wright of last week’s loss in Washington, DC to Georgetown. “You don’t want it to happen. But once it does, you have to make it a positive.That’s easy to say as a coach. The players have to do it. That’s what you saw.Usually we do it by coming out and banging threes. This time we came out and got stops. We were really good defensively.”
Doug McDermott, who lost all a bevy of sharpshooters from last year’s squad— including his All-American son, Doug Jr.,—wasn’t about to argue.
“They’re a year better,” McDermott said. “It’s obvious to me they did the things in the offseason to move forward.I think (Daniel) Ochefu’s one of the most improved. He was always able to do thing defensively, but offensively he’s a game changer now.Last year I had no idea last he could pass like that.He gives them another option and they’re a heckuva team now.’’
The 6-foot-11 Ochefugot manhandled in the paint at Georgetown, which stung in more ways than one since he grew up not far from there in Baltimore and had family and friends watching.
“They were definitely aggressive in the post and on the perimeter as well,’’Ochefu said. “That was a learning experience for us.Basically we spent the whole week preparing for what we did wrong.”
Now they’ll have until Saturday to prepare for DePaul, who’ll be anxious to avenge the earlier 81-64 beat down the Wildcats laid on them, followed by Marquette, then another shot at the Hoyas in two weeks at the Wells Fargo Center.
“We’ll probably do the same thing again getting ready for DePaul,’’ said Ochefu, considered the best NBA prospect among the Wildcats. “But assoon as we play Georgetown again we’ll lock into that.”
In other words, as overmatched Creighton sadly learned as have the vast majority of Villanova’s opponents this season, don’t look for another Hoya Destoya performance when they meet again.