St. Joe's, La Salle, Villanova release schedules

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St. Joe's, La Salle, Villanova release schedules

Villanova, La Salle and St. Joe's released their full 2013-14 schedules on Tuesday.

St. Joe’s (see schedule), which is coming off a disappointing 18-14 season that ended against St. John's in the first round of the NIT, will open on the road at Vermont on Nov. 9.

For the Hawks, the first big test on their schedule is against Creighton, who will head to Hagan Arena on Nov. 16.

St. Joe’s enters City 6 competition at Temple on Dec. 4 before welcoming Villanova on Dec. 7 and Drexel on Dec. 18.

The A-10 will look different this season after losing Butler, Temple, Charlotte and Xavier while picking up George Mason. But the biggest item of note from the Hawks' conference slate is the team's two games against La Salle. It will be the first time as A-10 members that the squads will face off twice during the regular season. The Hawks will travel to La Salle’s campus for the first time since 2001 on Feb. 15, and their second matchup will mark the end of the regular season for both teams.

The Explorers (see schedule), who made a surprise run to the Sweet 16 before ultimately falling to Wichita State, will host Manhattan College in their season opener on Nov. 9.

After starting the season off against some manageable opponents (Manhattan, Quinnipiac, Siena and Penn State), the Explorers head to the U.S. Virgin Islands for Paradise Jam. With a win over Morgan State, La Salle would either face Vanderbilt or Providence.

The challenges really start for La Salle in December. A week after playing at Villanova on Dec. 15, the Explorers head to Miami. Last year, La Salle fell to to Miami, 76-59.

The Explorers' last non-conference test comes against Temple on Jan. 18 before heading into A-10 play.

As for Villanova (see schedule), the Wildcats come off of a 20-14 season that ended in a loss to North Carolina in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
 
Just as Temple and La Salle, Villanova will play in a tournament in late November, flying to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis. The Wildcats will take on USC on Nov. 28. In the second round, the Wildcats would face either Kansas or Wake Forest.

Days before Villanova enters into the new-look Big East conference slate, the team faces rival Syracuse.
 
On New Years’ Eve, the Wildcats head to Hinkle Field House for the first time to face Butler.

In conference play, Villanova will take on Big East newcomer Creighton on Jan 20 at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Wildcats will close out the regular season at home against Georgetown.

Villanova's Donte DiVincenzo the next Josh Hart? Jay Wright believes so

Villanova's Donte DiVincenzo the next Josh Hart? Jay Wright believes so

NEW YORK — It’s hard to imagine higher praise from Jay Wright.

“I think he can be a Josh Hart,” Wright said. “I really do.”

Donte DiVincenzo is only two months into his redshirt freshman season at Villanova, and his coach is already comparing him to one of the heroes of last year’s NCAA championship team and a 2017 National Player of the Year candidate.

That’s pretty wild stuff, but it’s hard to argue with Wright.

The last two games have been a coming out for DiVincenzo, a Wilmington, Delaware native who played high school ball at Salesianum.

After scoring 20 points and shooting 5 for 17 in Villanova’s first four Big East games, DiVincenzo was 4 for 6 for 10 points with four rebounds and three assists Tuesday in a win over No. 15 Xavier at The Pavilion. On Saturday at Madison Square Garden — with his teammates all struggling from the field — he shot 7 for 10 from the field and 3 for 5 from three-point range for a career-high 19 points to go with three rebounds and two assists in the Wildcats’ win over St. John’s (see game recap).

Hart as a freshman? 7.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 21 minutes per game.

DiVincenzo so far as a freshman? 7.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 23 minutes per game.

DiVincenzo has been so good in these last two wins that, even coming off the bench, he’s played the third most minutes on the team – 31 ½ per game.

Josh Hart-esque.

“I talked to him about that before,” Wright said. “Just what impresses us so much about Josh is that he’s just complete. He does everything. There’s nothing on the basketball court he doesn’t do, and I think Donte can be that kind of player, too.”

On Saturday at the Garden, Villanova got off to another slow start. Ten minutes into the game, the Wildcats were shooting 2 for 12 from the field and 1 for 7 from three-point range and trailed by six.

It sure seemed DiVincenzo sensed how badly the Wildcats needed an offensive lift, because he proceeded to make four baskets in a five-minute stretch, including two confident looks from 3.

Those 10 points keyed a 16-6 run that gave ‘Nova the lead for good.

But DiVincenzo, echoing dozens of Villanova players from years past, said he never thinks offensively.

“No, not at all,” he said. “I don’t feel pressure offensively at all. Just focus on defending and rebounding. If the shots are falling for me, great. But if they’re not, just get back and focus on those two things.”

DiVincenzo is a freshman but did play in eight games last year before breaking his foot and sitting out the rest of the year. He did travel with the Wildcats and was on the bench during the NCAA title run.

Now, he’s the biggest surprise on the No. 3 team in the country. Villanova takes a 17-1 record and 4-1 Big East mark into a game Monday night at The Pavilion against Seton Hall, their first meeting since the Pirates beat the Wildcats in last year’s Big East title game.

Think about it.

‘Nova is down two players who Wright expected to be huge parts of this year’s team — title game hero Phil Booth, who's hurt and not expected back this year, and Amari Spellman, whom the NCAA ruled ineligible.

“We’re trying to get to a certain level of play,” Wright said. “We’re trying to figure ourselves out here. We thought we were going to be one kind of team earlier in the season and we lost a couple guys. We like our team, but we’re still trying to figure it out. We’re not a finished product yet.”

In six Big East games, DiVincenzo is averaging 8.2 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists.

No Villanova freshman has averaged 8.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in conference play since Lance Miller in 1990.

Overall, DiVincenzo is eighth among Big East freshmen in scoring, seventh in minutes, rebounding, assists and three-point shooting.

And trending upward.

“We’re really excited about him,” Wright said. “He’s doing everything for us. He’s playing point, he’s playing two-guard, he’s playing the three, he’s rebounding, defending, and that’s the kind of players you like to have.

“He’s only a freshman, and he works hard at it. Those two (DiVincenzo and Hart) compete against each other at practice, and he’s got the same competitiveness, so it’s exciting for us. We’re really fired up.

“And you’ve got to do it in games. We all know it’s going to come sometimes, but you’ve got to do it in games. Do it in the Garden? Against a tough aggressive team? Did it in the Xavier game? That’s big-time.”

La Salle tops George Washington behind Jordan Price's big night

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La Salle tops George Washington behind Jordan Price's big night

Jordan Price scored 23 points with seven rebounds, five assists and two steals and La Salle defeated George Washington 79-69 on Sunday.

B.J. Johnson had 14 points and Cleon Roberts added 13 for the Explorers (10-5, 4-1 Atlantic 10), who won their fourth straight.

La Salle, which never trailed, shot 68 percent in the first half, making 6 of 9 threes and 15 of 22 overall, to take a 40-30 lead.

George Washington scored the first six points out of the break and trailed 51-46 with 11:37 to play. Pookie Powell's three and Price's three-point play started an 8-0 surge and 19-3 run that made it 70-49 at the 6:29 mark. Johnson, Price and Powell hit consecutive threes.

The Explorers finished 24 of 44 (61 percent), 11 of 17 from long distance and 14 of 15 from the foul line. It was the first time they shot better than 60 percent since March 20, 2013. Price was 9 of 11 with four threes.

Jair Bolden led the Colonials (9-9, 1-4) with 16 points and Yuta Watanabe and Tyler Cavanaugh had 13 apiece.