Villanova led for the game's final 36 minutes and won 80-68. The Wildcats shot 50 percent for the game, a number that was a rumor last season.
"Ryan was just great at the point," Wright said.
Arcidiacono hit three of his treys early to set the game's tone. When they ran at him, he split defenders and hit a floater. And when he came down the floor with the ball on 3-on-1, he took his time, set up the lone defender and casually dropped the scoring pass across the lane.
It was not a one-man show. James "Taj" Bell had 19 for the 'Cats (2-0). Darrun Hilliard had 15. The three starting guards combined for 59 of the 80 points while shooting 18-for-31 overall and 9-for-17 from the arc.
Marshall (1-1) kept hanging because it kept bombing in threes. 'Nova led for 33 straight minutes, but never by double figures. When Marshall got it to 70-68 as the clock hit 4 minutes, the game's moment had arrived.
After a media timeout, Arcidiacono drove into the defense and pitched it to Bell in front of the 'Nova bench. He buried a three and Marshall did not recover.
"I was trying to score, but that drew his man in," Arcidiacono said.
It did and that was the killer play.
"Arch hasn't been in a game like that," Wright said. "I was really watching to see what happens. When they got it to two, I said either they're going to take a lead and we're going to see if we've got the guts to fight through it. Or we're going to fight through it now and keep the lead."
They kept it. They will keep their point guard too.
The pain ended after the surgery. By April, Arcidiacono was back playing. By the end of summer, he felt like he did after his junior year at Neshaminy. He was ready to play.
When you score 80, defense won't get much mention, but 'Nova did a tremendous job on Marshall scoring machine DeAndre Kane. Coming into the season, only one junior (Creighton's Doug McDermott) had scored more than Kane's 1,073 points. He scored 40 in a conference tournament game. Playing with DaJuan Blair at Pittsburgh's Schenley High, Kane helped his team win an AAAA state title. He averaged 33 points per game as a senior. He was 2-for-10 for four points against 'Nova.
"I think [the defensive attention] opened up some other people, but we took that chance," Wright said.
Marshall was 12-for-22 from the arc until cooling off late, just in time for 'Nova to get that two-point lead to a dozen.
Beyond the shooting and the individual defense, the other number that jumped out was 37-23 for the 'Cats on the glass. Marshall had the nation's 10th best rebound margin last season (plus seven boards per game).
"We knew if we didn't rebound the ball, we were going to be in trouble," Wright said. "I was really pleased with our rebounding. For them to only get three offensive rebounds was big."
And there was one other number of interest at least for Marshall coach Tom Herrion, brother of Bill. 'Nova took 37 foul shots to 15 for Marshall.
"For us to not even get close to the bonus in the second half is pretty eye-raising," he said.
Herrion, who has won 124 games in six-plus seasons as a head coach at Charleston and Marshall, was not suggesting anything other than the obvious. He knew Villanova had been the better team. And he was also fascinated by the 'Cats freshman point guard.
"He's plays with a little bit of swagger, a lot of confidence," Herrion said.
He does indeed. 'Nova did not make many shots last season, which may have been why it played with little confidence. Now, they have a young man who can make shots, help his teammates make shots and plays with confidence.
"I felt good shooting the ball in warmups," Arcidiacono said. "My first couple shots went down."
Marshall went under a few ball screens and the ball ended up in the basket before recovery was a consideration. Arcidiacono's shot is effortless, with in-the-gym range. He made a few mistakes, but they were aggressive, not passive, mistakes. He sees the game, a lost art anymore.
"He's got a very high basketball IQ," Wright said.
Arcidiacono spent a lot of time at Villanova games last season. He could not play so he watched and learned. Now, after two college games, he is firmly in charge of a team with veterans that won a lot and then, last season, lost a lot. It is so early that any returns could be misleading, but the projections now look better than the polls.