PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) – Villanova, who ranks fifth, did not accelerate the controlled pace of Western Kentucky and had trouble shooting in the first half of his debut in Battle 4 Atlantis.
In the second half, the Wildcats much more like the group that scored 100 points in each of their last two games.
Jalen Brunson scored 18 points while Villanova finally broke free in the transition after halftime, helping the Wildcats beat the Hilltoppers 66-58 on Wednesday's opening round.
The Wildcats (4-0) found themselves in a close game until the beginning of the second half. That's when they ran out of a burst of 13-2 to advance two digits, part of a burning streak that made them accelerate and score turnovers.
"They usually play a little faster than that, but I think they were smart knowing they have three days here," said Villanova coach Jay Wright. "They controlled the tempo … Offensively they got us out of control, and I think that had a lot to do with our poor shots in the first half."
Villanova did not get many easy scores in the first half and only had two counterattacks. points for the break, but he had 14 in the second half, while scoring 16 of his 23 points of turnovers.
Villanova scored 15 of 24 shots (63 percent) after halftime after firing just 33 percent to lead 27-24 at halftime. The Wildcats finally led with 18 points late.
"They find ways to make jets and run," said Western Kentucky coach Rick Stansbury. "And they could find a way to accelerate the second half a little bit in some turnovers."
Darius Thompson scored 16 points for the Hilltoppers (2-2), who hit 44 percent but struggled to maintain control with Villanova converting easy baskets of losses in the second half.
"I think our turnovers were like self-inflicted," Thompson said. "I just try to do a little too much at the wrong time"
Western Kentucky: the Hilltoppers kept Villanova close during the first half and lost just 34-33 at the start of the second. Still, the Hilltoppers fell to 1-13 in their last 14 games against clbadified opponents.
"I'm really proud of our team's effort," Stansbury said, "but I think that's the way we let the game come back." Away from us in the second half, I'm more disappointed. "
Villanova: The Wildcats contributed great offensive numbers, including 113 points against Nicholls State and 104 points against Lafayette in their last two games, they did not find the same roll here , although they finally built a big advantage and sailed to the last horn.
"We still have a lot to improve," Brunson said. "We're still a work in progress."
BRIDGES & RALLY
Brunson He is a pre-season All-American Associated Press, but Mikal Bridges is leading Villanova in scoring.The junior guard had scored career goals with 23 points against Nicholls and then 24 against Lafayette, and followed with 17 points and eight rebounds in this.
BANK OF BANK
Second-year student Donte DiVincenzo scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half for Villanova outside the bank He finished a hard layup through the contact for a three-point play at the 5:11 mark.
DiVincenzo has scored in double figures in three of the four games this season.
"He really is a disinterested guy," Wright said. . "We really have six starters, you can see by the minutes, and he's a guy who just said," I do not care, I'll do whatever you need me to do. "
" And he comes from the bank and it's amazing, and it brings a lot of energy. It was formidable in the second half. "
Western Kentucky: the Hilltoppers will face the No. 18 Purdue in the consolation group on Thursday.
Villanova: the Wildcats advance to play against Tennessee on Thursday .