Villanova defeats Lafayette in NCAA tournament
Villanova was just too much for Lafayette to handle in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Once again, the one-seed trumped the Cinderella 16-seed to advance to the Round of 32 (one-seeds are 123-0 all-time against 16-seeds).
Villanova showed why they are the second overall ranked team in the country on Thursday, winning by a score of 93-52. Six Wildcats scored in double figures and were led by junior guard Dylan Ennis with 16 points. The team shot 63.2 percent from the field and 50.0 percent from behind the arc. Their offensive efficiency and diversified scoring made it more difficult for an inefficient Lafayette defense to guard.
The Leopards usually rely heavily on their offense and three-point efficiency to win. Against the Wildcats, the Leopard’s failed to show the same offensive poise that they have shown all season.They shot just 38.3 percent from the floor and 22.2 percent from the three-point line, not reflective of their season averages (48.5 percent and 40.8 percent). Their inefficiency on Thursday was a reflection of the opposing level of competition and nerves.
“I think that playing the number two team in the nation, we were a little nervous,” senior Seth Hinrichs said. “We knew that we had to get off to a good start and we didn’t do that tonight. They’re a really good defensive team and they got us out of rhythm.”
“In the bright lights we didn’t execute defensively as we should have,” head coach Fran O’Hanlon added.“They’ve been used to playing in the bright lights and they came out ready to go.”
Seniors Dan Trist and Seth Hinrichs rightfully led the way in scoring, with 18 and 13 points, closing out their respective careers. This loss will not overshadow what the Leopards have accomplished this season. They closed out the regular season winning six of seven games, and cruised through Patriot League Tournament play, defeating Boston University, one-seeded Bucknell and American in a championship nail-biter.
Next season the team will defend their title and welcome three new freshmen that will have big shoes to fill. But for now, the team will have 356 more days to stare at their well earned Patriot League trophy.