Wildcats hammer Boston U.

Boston University's D.J. Irving (left) tries to stop Villanova's Corey Stokes from stealing the ball from him at the Pavilion.
Boston University's D.J. Irving (left) tries to stop Villanova's Corey Stokes from stealing the ball from him at the Pavilion.

'Nova built up a big lead in the first half and didn't look back.

Posted: November 18, 2010

Patrick Chambers called the night "weird" and "strange."

Boston University's second-year head coach was back at Villanova coaching against Jay Wright, his boss during his five seasons on the Main Line, and watching three seniors whom he helped recruit and develop in that time.

The seniors - Antonio Pena, Corey Fisher, and Corey Stokes - played major roles Wednesday night in the sixth-ranked Wildcats' 82-66 victory over the Terriers at the Pavilion in the second round of the NIT Season Tip-Off.

Pena shot 7 of 9 from the field and scored a game-high 17 points to go with eight rebounds. Fisher added 16 points and Stokes 12 as Villanova advanced to a semifinal game against UCLA next Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.

Chambers, a Philadelphia University graduate who was an associate head coach in 2008-09 when the Wildcats made the Final Four, said 'Nova's elder trio didn't surprise him.

"Not at all," he said. "They're very good players. I think Antonio did a great job. He shot well and he rebounded the basketball. He did a great job for them. If you give them that type of production, this is definitely an elite team."

Sophomore Maalik Wayns established a career high with 12 assists (against one turnover) and scored 12 points.

Wright called the opportunity to coach against his former assistant "not enjoyable" but added that the familiarity between himself and Chambers was almost comical at times during the game.

"They're calling out the same calls we're calling," he said. "We're yelling out what they're running. They're yelling out what we're running. It's crazy."

But the Wildcats (3-0) had too much firepower inside for the Terriers (1-1). They scored 50 points in the paint, and 22 of their 32 field goals came on layups or dunks.

The Boston University zone defense did limit Villanova's three-point shooting. The home team went just 1 of 12 from beyond the arc, missing its last 10 attempts, but still managed to shoot 55.2 percent overall from the field.

Wright particularly liked watching the 6-foot-81/2 Pena, a fifth-year senior, become more assertive at the offensive end.

"He's a very, very good shooter. He's a very skilled player," Wright said. "Throughout his career, he's always been a complementary player. He's a humble guy, but we need him to be a killer in there, and he did a really good job tonight."

Pena gave credit to his teammates for getting him the basketball.

"Playing with Maalik and Fish and Stokes, I know that easy baskets are going to come if I keep moving and keep working," he said. "The coaches drill me every day about being assertive. I'm trying to do a better job of that."

The Terriers made Villanova work for much of the 40 minutes, even after the Wildcats took a 72-52 lead with 6 minutes to play.

Former St. Joseph's Prep star Matt Griffin scored five points in a 7-0 run that trimmed the deficit to 13 points with 4:36 remaining, but the Cats later scored on four consecutive possessions, including baskets by Fisher and Pena, to put the game away.

John Holland led the Terriers with 14 points but shot just 5 of 18 from the field. Darryl Partin, a transfer from La Salle, had 12 points, and Griffin chipped in with 10.

For Chambers, who had a number of family members and friends in the crowd, it was memorable being back in his old haunts coaching against his former boss.

"It's weird, it's strange," he said. "But it's also great. I really enjoyed it because I love my team, I love running a program, and I love where I work.

"I learned a lot from Coach Wright and Villanova and all the people here. So I'm really happy to be on the other bench right now because he put me in that position."

Or as Wright said, "I'm a little biased; I think they're very well-coached."

Contact staff writer Joe Juliano at 215-854-4494 or jjuliano@phillynews.com.

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