by Mark O’Neil
The night after the men’s basketball team kicked off their season by wowing the crowd with their dance moves, they headed back to the court, but this time for the annual Blue-White Scrimmage. The inter-squad scrimmage pits the Blue team against the White team in what is typically the fans’ first real look at this year’s team.
This year’s scrimmage was tight the whole way, with the white team eventually downing the blue team by a score of 52-49.
The White team consisted of senior center Mouphtaou Yarou, redshirt senior forward Maurice Sutton, sophomore guards Ty Johnson and Darrun Hilliard, sophomore guard Achrac Yaboubou and freshman guard Mislav Brzoja, as well as walk-ons Henry Lowe and Nick McMahon.
The Blue team started freshman center Daniel Ochefu, redshirt sophomore forward JayVaughn Pinkston, junior guard James Bell, junior guard Tony Chennault, redshirt freshmen guard Dylan Ennis, as well as freshman walk-on forward Pat Farrell coming off the bench.
Freshman guard Ryan Arcidiacono did not participate in the scrimmage due to injury.
The Blue squad jumped out to an early lead in the game, and while they were the undersized going up against Yarou and Sutton, they manged to hold their own due to superior guard play. Ennis and Chennault showed how much they can add to this Villanova team, as they managed to run the backcourt efficiently against Johnson and Hilliard. Ennis in particular was impressive, scoring 13 points in the scrimmage. After winning the dunk contest the previous night, it’s obvious to see why fans are itching to see him on the court next year. He continued to show his tremendous athleticism in the scrimmage, at one point skying in front of the rim to swat a layup attempt from Yarou.
In the second half, the size of the White team started to take over, as Yarou and Sutton were able to get good post opportunities. Sutton was both the leading scorer and rebounder in the scrimmage, totaling 15 points and 11 rebounds in the game. Yarou followed closely behind, putting up 10 points and eight rebounds in the team’s win. Hilliard also added 12 points to the White team’s total.
The Blue team was paced by Ennis as well as Bell, who contributed 13 points in the win. Bell was especially hot from the 3-point arc, where he got a large amount of his points. Pinkston was also impressive in the scrimmage, adding 10 points for his team in the loss.
The best moment of the night came at the end of the game, where with a few minutes left, Yarou attempted a Superman-style dunk from outside the paint that just missed, bouncing off the back of the rim. On the ensuing possession, Ochefu received the ball in the post, pulled a nice move on his defender, and emphatically slammed the ball home with one hand, showing his senior mentor how its done.
However, Yarou was not to be outdone, and with just 12 seconds remaining in the game, caught the ball just inside the key and soared towards the basket for a thunderous one-handed jam that brought the crowd to its feet.
Before officially opening their season on Nov. 9 against the University of D.C., the ’Cats will play a scrimmage tonight against Carlton in the Pavilion. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.