Villanova coach Jay Wright said that they don’t rely on their shooting to win ballgames. That statement has never been punctuated enough with the Wildcats’ victory over Texas Tech Red Raiders which earned them a trip to the Final Four.
The fact that Villanova defeated Raiders on their own game was even more impressive. They out-defended a vaunted defensive team. And it seemed they pulled down the ball everytime it bounced off the rim.
There was one period where the Wildcats missed 10 of their 11 shots and yet still held off a Red Raiders’ rally due to their lockdown defense. When the smoke cleared, they held their opponents to just 33% field goals. They also finished with 55 rebounds, a season-best for them.
Wright acknowledged that the game wasn’t pretty by any standards. But they only allowed their opponents to score 59 points while scoring 71 themselves.
“Wasn’t really a pretty offensive game. But we played pretty good defensively too,” he said. “That’s why I give Texas Tech credit, they did a great job. But we don’t rely on our shooting. There’s a lot more to the game.”
He said that all the players bought into the idea that they would encounter shooting droughts so they should not worry. But they better play their hearts out on the other side of the floor. Every man in the team takes pride in their individual defense.
“It’s fun when they go in, but we don’t worry about missing them,” Wright said.
Texas Tech coach Chris Beard pointed to the rebounds as the main culprit, thereby giving Villanova extra possessions. Of the total rebounds recorded by the team, 20 of them were off the offensive boards.
“That’s one of the best defenses we’ve played against,” Beard said. “You know, we got some good shots, but they were all contested.”