Darrun Hilliard's latest dominant Wells Fargo Center performance evokes steel puns from giddy announcers

Darrun Hilliard's latest dominant Wells Fargo Center performance evokes steel puns from giddy announcers

Forget Michael Carter-Williams. The best player at the Wells Fargo Center this year might be Villanova junior guard Darrun Hilliard.

A week after setting a career-high with 26 points in a 73-56 rout of Marquette at the Sixers’ home arena, Hilliard was all over the Wells Fargo court again, filling out the box score with team highs in points (19), assists (five) and steals (three) as the Wildcats hammered Georgetown 77-59 on Saturday.

Through four games at the Wells Fargo Center this season, Hilliard is averaging 18.2 points on a ridiculous 63 percent shooting and an equally ridiculous 57 percent shooting from 3-point range.

He also hit a career high in the building last season when the Wildcats rode his 25-point, seven-rebound, six-assist, zero-turnover game to a 75-71 upset of then-No. 3 Syracuse.

That win over ’Cuse prompted the second court-storming of the week at the Wells Fargo Center – something that's almost hard to imagine at this point because the Wildcats are now the big favorites pretty much every game.

Ranked sixth in the country, Villanova heads into this week’s Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden with a legitimate chance at earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

The strong play of Hilliard has been one reason for the ’Cats big turnaround. Just as important, it led to this quality exchange between Fox Sports 1 announcers Gus Johnson and Bob Wenzel during Saturday’s game.

WENZEL: Darrun Hilliard, Gus, is turning into my favorite player. Drive with the right! His off hand! Full court! Steals! Layup shooting! Seventeen points for this young man! And he’s from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania!

GUS JOHNSON: That’s right! Bethlehem Steel!

BOB WENZEL: I’m telling you – he’s steely-eyed right there, man.

Let’s just say Hilliard’s transitions were better than Wenzel’s.

Union see 4-game winning streak end in shutout loss to Real Salt Lake

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USA Today Images

Union see 4-game winning streak end in shutout loss to Real Salt Lake

BOX SCORE

SANDY, Utah -- Joao Plata scored his first goal of the season and Real Salt Lake beat the Union, 1-0, on Saturday night to snap Philadelphia's club-record winning streak at four games.

Plata tapped in his goal in the 36th minute after quickly exchanging short passes twice with Jefferson Savarino. Tony Beltran got the play started by saving the ball just before it went over the goal line.

The Union (4-5-5) had a chance to tie it in stoppage time, but goalie Nick Rimando blocked Haris Medunjanin's belt-high free kick and Salt Lake (4-8-2) cleared it after a scramble in front of the net.

Union goalkeeper Andre Blake made seven saves.

Howie Kendrick makes 4th rehab appearance in Lehigh Valley

Howie Kendrick makes 4th rehab appearance in Lehigh Valley

Howie Kendrick on Saturday night made his fourth rehab appearance in Triple A during Lehigh Valley's 13-1 rout of the Louisville Bats in Allentown.

Kendrick went 1 for 5 with a run scored and three strikeouts. He also grounded into a double play and left two runners in scoring position.

It was his second rehab game playing third base. He played third during his appearance in the IronPigs' 8-4 loss Thursday to the Indianapolis Indians. He was 0 for 1 in three plate appearances with a run scored and was hit by a pitch twice (see story).

The Phillies' plan for Kendrick was to have him play a minimum four games at Lehigh Valley. He played left field in two games and third base twice. Pete Mackanin said Wednesday that Kendrick would also get a game at first base but he hasn't gotten a game at first yet.

There is a chance Kendrick could be recalled Sunday before the Phillies’ series finale against the Cincinnati Reds depending on how he feels.

Kendrick has been sidelined since April 15 with an oblique strain. In 10 games before the injury, Kendrick went 13 for 39 (.333) with five extra-base hits and four walks while exclusively playing left field.