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Sport Three takeaways from Villanova's big win over Gonzaga

07:06  06 december  2017
07:06  06 december  2017 Source:   sportingnews.com

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No. 4 Villanova cruised Tuesday to an 88-72 victory over No. 12 Gonzaga , thanks to a huge first half at Madison Square Garden. The Wildcats led by 13 points at the break and never looked back, improving to 9-0 on the season. Here are three takeaways from Villanova ' s win

Villanova used a dominant first half to beat Gonzaga in Tuesday' s Jimmy V Classic matchup.

a man holding a basketball: Mikal Bridges© (Getty Images) Mikal Bridges No. 4 Villanova cruised Tuesday to an 88-72 victory over No. 12 Gonzaga, thanks to a huge first half at Madison Square Garden.

The Wildcats led by 13 points at the break and never looked back, improving to 9-0 on the season.

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Here are three takeaways from Villanova's win:

1. Mikal Bridges joined college basketball's elite — Merely a role player throughout much of his college career, Bridges — not to be confused with Michigan State's Miles Bridges — has certainly made a name for himself this season, highlighted by Tuesday night's 28-point explosion.

Brunson, Bridges fuel No. 5 Villanova past W. Kentucky

  Brunson, Bridges fuel No. 5 Villanova past W. Kentucky Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges combined for 35 points on 14-of-24 shooting to lift fifth-ranked Villanova to a 66-58 win over Western Kentucky on Wednesday in a first-round game of the Battle 4 Atlantis at Paradise Island, Bahamas. The Wildcats (4-0) face Tennessee (3-0) in a semifinal game Thursday. The Volunteers upset No. 18 Purdue 78-75 in overtime in another first-round game of the event taking place at the Imperial Ballroom Arena.

Here are three takeaways from Villanova ' s win : 1. Mikal Bridges joined college basketball's elite — Merely a role player throughout much of his college 2. Villanova finally has a post presence — Missing from last season's team that suffered a disappointing early exit from the NCAA Tournament

Watch the Game Highlights from Villanova ' s second National Championship in three years! Watch highlights, game recaps, and much more from the 2018 NCAA

Bridges hit 8 of 14 from the field (5 of 9 from 3-point range) while adding six rebounds. The Wildcats lost a lot of scoring from last season's team, but Bridges' emergence should help make Villanova scary on offense (again). Bridges was helped by fellow breakout star Phil Booth's 20 points.

2. Villanova finally has a post presence — Missing from last season's team that suffered a disappointing early exit from the NCAA Tournament was a dominant scoring threat around the basket. Enter Omari Spellman.

The Wildcats have historically been guard-heavy, dating back to the Allan Ray days of a five-guard lineup, but Villanova fans should be happy to see a load like Spellman occupying the paint. Spellman poured in 10 points with eight rebounds Tuesday, good for his third straight double-figure scoring effort. He gives Villanova an added dimension missing from seasons past.

No. 5 Villanova beats Western Kentucky 66-58 in the Bahamas

  No. 5 Villanova beats Western Kentucky 66-58 in the Bahamas Fifth-ranked Villanova failed to speed up Western Kentucky's controlled tempo and struggled to make shots through the first half of its Battle 4 Atlantis debut. In the second half, the Wildcats looked far more like the high-scoring bunch that had cracked 100 points in each of their past two games.Jalen Brunson scored 18 points while Villanova finally got loose in transition after halftime, helping the Wildcats beat the Hilltoppers 66-58 in Wednesday's opening round.BOX SCORE: NO. 5 VILLANOVA 66, WESTERN KENTUCKY 58The Wildcats (4-0) found themselves in a close game until early in the second half.

An early barrage of 3-pointers helped Villanova beat Kansas in the Final Four.

The Seminoles continued their impressive tournament run with a convincing win over Gonzaga .

3. Gonzaga needs the most out of Jonathan Williams every night — Not only is Williams the most important player on Gonzaga's stacked roster, he's also one of the best players in the country. But the double-double machine was limited to just five points and zero rebounds Tuesday while serving most of the game in foul trouble before ultimately fouling out.

With Williams out of the game, Gonzaga looked dangerously thin in its frontcourt, and the guards, led by Zach Norvell Jr.'s 22 points, could only do so much.

Related slideshow: 2017-18 college basketball season (Provided by photo services)

No. 12 Gonzaga gets big contributions from younger players .
When No. 12 Gonzaga lost four key players from a team that finished as the national runner up last season, many wondered if the Bulldogs would play up to their usual standard this year. Wonder no more.Three freshmen and two sophomores have helped the Zags (10-2) pick up right where they left off.Corey Kispert became the first true freshman to start his first Gonzaga game since Elias Harris in 2009. Redshirt freshmen Zach Norvell Jr. is a scoring machine, while freshman Jacob Larsen is contributing in the post. Sophomores Killian Tillie and Rui Hachimura are also bringing solid production in the front court.

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