Villanova held off an upset effort by Delaware this afternoon, extending its win streak to four games after putting the Blue Hens away, 78-70 in the Fourth Annual Never Forget Tribute Classic, hosted at the Prudential Center.
The event was sponsored by SoldierStrong in honor of the armed forces who sprung into action in the aftermath of 9/11. This two-game event also included a matchup between Kansas State and Mississippi State.
Coming off the best start in program history at 9-1, the red-hot Blue Hens came out firing right from the tip-off, making their first shot attempt to go up 3-0. Villanova responded with an unanswered seven-point run to take a lead which they would not relinquish for the remainder of the game. After falling behind by as many as 12 points in the first half, Delaware fought its way back into a one-point game after halftime. The Blue Hens were helped by a strong 29-point performance from junior guard Nate Darling, before an excellent closing effort from Villanova sealed the win.
This was a strong offensive performance for the ‘Cats as five different players scored double-digit points, led by Jermaine Samuels with 18.
The Wildcats’ win was one of its best so far this season, earned over a legitimately strong Delaware team with tournament hopes.
The ‘Cats, currently ranked No. 20 in the AP Top 25 Poll, will now gear up to host the No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Dec. 21, the first day of winter break for students. Tip-off will be at 12 p.m.