That was a hell of a game. Plenty of offense, very little defense in the first half. Some really spectacular performances from Dion Dixon and especially Malik Wayns who single handedly carried the Wildcats to the precipice of a win before falling short. In the end the Bearcats came away with this win for two reasons main reasons.
1) UC was an astonishing +14 in the turnover margin (+14!) with a turnover margin like that its very hard to lose a game with a turnover margin like that.
2) The Bearcats made all the effort plays in the second half. And the guy at the center of the action was the last you would expect to make effort plays. That's right, Yancy Gates. He crashed the boards hard in the second half with 7 of his 9 rebounds coming in the second half and all 4 of his offensive rebounds coming in the second stanza. Two of them which he put back. for buckets. This was the best game Yancy Gates has played since the Crosstown Blowout last year
There were other heros. Cashmere Wright put up 11-6-5 with 6 steals and just two turnovers. As per usual he shot the ball horribly from the field but redeemed himself from the line going 5-8, 4-6 in the last 28 seconds to keep the final margin
And I can't conclude this without saying something about Maalik Wayns who was nothing short of spectacular today. He single handedly kept Villanova in this game in the second half. He accounted for 21 of Villanova's 33 second half grabbed 13 rebounds and dished out 6 assists for good measure. Just a phenomenal performance. Reminiscant of Marshon Brooks performance against the Bearcats last year where Brooks scored 27 and kept the Friars in the game more or less on his own. Wayns was like that today, but an order of magnitude higher. Just spectuacular to watch.
This was a game the Bearcats had to have against a desperate team with loads of talent and the ability to pull the upset. UC weathered the storm early and really played suffocating defense to put the game to bed in the second half. Great win.