Coming into Monday’s matchup, Villanova basketball was flying high. Although they haven’t faced strong competition, they looked good in their first two wins over American and Le Moyne. Monday night, they faced an early test in the Big 5 Classic, as they traveled to face the Penn Quakers at The Palestra.
Thanks to an offense that fell completely flat, and a defense that couldn’t keep the Quakers from scoring in key moments of the game, the Wildcats dropped their first game of the year. While Villanova will certainly be able to rebound from this loss, their schedule won’t get any easier with Maryland and Texas Tech on deck.
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Villanova Basketball Falls Flat at The Palestra
Wildcats’ Shooting Cools Down
Through the first two games of the season, Villanova was able to score the ball almost at will. The Wildcats shot 54% from the field against American and 48% from the field against Le Moyne. In both games, they shot over 37% from behind the arc as well, which is why they were averaging over 86 points per game.
At The Palestra, their shots suddenly stopped falling. While plenty of credit has to be given to Penn and their defensive effort, Villanova would’ve won this game even if they had shot below average. Instead, they made under 35% of their shots from the field and just 37% from distance. Cold shooting nights will certainly happen over the course of the year and on Monday, Villanova had one of theirs at the worst time.
Villanova Basketball Can’t Stop Tyler Perkins
Penn is certainly not a bad offensive team, but they have been reliant on Clark Slajchert and Tyler Perkins early this season. The pair combined for over 33 points per game and Villanova knew that all they had to do to beat Penn was to stop one of those two players from scoring.
Not only could they not slow down Tyler Perkins, but they allowed the freshman to have a great night. Perkins didn’t shoot the lights out, but Villanova basketball clearly had no answer for him. Perkins had 22 points and although he hit just five shots, he found a way to force the Wildcats to send him to the line. He hit 9/12 free throws and Villanova just couldn’t stop him from leading Penn to a statement victory.