Villanova visits Providence in Big East battle Saturday

Matt Leon
January 04, 2019 - 3:15 pm
Villanova Wildcats forward Saddiq Bey (15) rebounds against the Michigan Wolverines during the second half at Finneran Pavilion.

Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- The Villanova Wildcats will play their first road Big East game of the season on Saturday as they visit the Providence Friars.

The Wildcats opened Big East play with a home win over DePaul on Wednesday, pulling out a 73-68 decision at the Pavilion. The victory improved the defending national champions to 10-4 on the season.

"We probably are about where we thought we'd be," Villanova head coach Jay Wright said. "You can never know what games you're going to play well in or not, but we're a team that's growing, getting better, and we still have a lot of growth in us I think."

Freshman forward Saddiq Bey had a big game in Wednesday's win over DePaul, scoring 15 points, one off his season high.

"Really pleased with Saddiq's production and his progress," Wright said. "He's been really solid for us defensively, which is rare for a freshman, you know. (He's) rebounding the ball well and scoring in different ways, at the rim, mid-range and shooting threes, getting to the foul line. So we've been really pleased with him, think he has a great future here."

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For the season, Bey is averaging 8.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.

Providence is also 10-4 this season. The Friars lost their Big East opener on New Year's Eve, falling at home to Creighton, 79-68.

"Typical tough, physical, athletic Providence team," Wright said. "Great length, (junior Alpha) Diallo, their small forward, is Mister Everything, he leads them in scoring (17.4 ppg), rebounding (8.6 rpg) and assists (46), just a really dynamic player. They've got some experienced guys in (junior guard Maliek) White and (redshirt senior guard Isaiah) Jackson that are giving them really good minutes to mix with their young guys, they're really talented young guys."

These two teams met three times last season, with Villanova winning two of the games, including an overtime decision in the Big East Championship Game.

Saturday's game in Providence gets underway at 2:00 p.m.

You can follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleon1060.