Villanova coach Jay Wright was pleased to watch his team deliver Sunday when the game was on the line.
Wright won't get to see that again Saturday night at Wells Fargo Center if this contest with Delaware even remotely resembles last season's matchup.The 10th-ranked Wildcats look to improve to 9-0 against the Blue Hens, who will try to win six in a row for the first time in 10 seasons.With its first seven victories ranging from 11 to 45 points and its one loss coming by 10 to then-No. 24 Tennessee on Nov. 26, Villanova (8-1) overcame an eight-point deficit in the final five minutes Sunday for an 84-81 win over La Salle."This group really needed a game like this," Wright told Villanova's official website after the team won for the 20th time in 22 December games. "Even though we have some of the same players, we have new leaders. ... We all needed to go through this kind of game together."Delaware (5-2), going for its first six-game winning streak since a 7-0 stretch from Feb. 8-March 4, 2001, doesn't need another game like last season's matchup with Villanova.Facing the Wildcats for the first time since March 15, 2000, the Blue Hens lost 97-63 on Dec. 23 at The Pavilion in the team's worst defensive effort since Monte Ross took over as coach in 2006-07. Delaware yielded season highs in points, field goals (33) and 3-pointers (13).Wright would like to see a similar shooting performance from his squad, which hit a season-best 45.0 percent (9 of 20) from beyond the arc against La Salle after making 25.2 percent in its previous six games.Corey Stokes is Villanova's biggest threat from long distance with 28 3-pointers in 67 attempts and he hit four Sunday, as did sophomore guard Dominic Cheek, who made two during a late 12-2 run."Those are big shots by Cheek," said Corey Fisher, who scored 16 points Sunday and had 14 last season against Delaware. "Our whole team can do that, take over games. We all take pride in helping each other."While four Wildcats are scoring at least 11.2 points per game, senior guard Jawan Carter (16.0) is the only Blue Hen averaging double figures. Carter, who hit four 3s and scored a team-high 13 points with six assists last season at Villanova, had 13 points in last Saturday's 61-50 victory over Delaware State.The Blue Hens scored the game's final 12 points.Since totaling seven points in losses to Ohio and Cornell to open the season, Carter is averaging 21.0 points and shooting 23 of 48 from 3-point range during Delaware's winning streak.Blue Hens sophomore Josh Brinkley has been to the foul line 22 times in the last two games and has 31 points off the bench in those victories.Delaware has dropped its last six games to ranked teams by an average of 23.9 points.Villanova has won 84 of 98 in non-conference play.