On Thursday, the Wildcats cruised to a 98-69 victory over Middle Tennessee in the opening round of the Myrtle Beach Invitational. The Wildcat’s strong effort was led by Cole Swider’s hot hand off the bench and featured five-star freshman Bryan Antoine making his Villanova debut. Swider scored a game high 26 points while Antione picked up nine points and a pair of assists in 19 minutes of action.
The Wildcats began the game hot, jumping out to an early 17-2 lead with junior guard Colin Gillespie leading the charge with the team’s first 8 points. Gillespie would go on to finish with 16 points and seven assists. From here, Swider helped Villanova build its lead by hitting five three pointers in the first half en route to a career-high point total. With the team firing on all cylinders, Villanova entered the break up 25, by a score of 53-28.
The second half did not feature the same scoring barrage, but the Wildcats were able to get a lot of their guys involved with 12 players seeing the court and 10 of them chipping into the scoring tally. Leading the team in the second half was guard Justin Moore, who put up 15 points in the campaign. Additionally, Brandon Slater performed well off the bench, tallying seven points, three boards and 3 assists. From a scoring output, Villanova did not have many baskets from Jermaine Samuels, Saddiq Bey and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl who each added six points. In total, the team’s 49 bench points matched the figure put up by the starters.
Throughout the game, Villanova moved the ball well and was strong on the boards. The ‘Cats had 27 assists in the contest and defeated Middle Tennessee in the rebounding battle, 37 to 33. This was accompanied by their strong shooting. The Wildcats hit 56.7% of their shots and went 18-38 from long range.
Moving forward, Villanova will play undefeated Mississippi State tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. as they look to reach the Championship of the Myrtle Beach Invitational. The Wildcats are currently sitting at 3-1 after the victory.