After a slow start to their 2011-12 season the Villanova Wildcats begin Big East Conference play Wednesday, as they hit the road to play the West Virginia Mountaineers at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown, WV. The Wildcats (7-5) are looking to extended their conference-opening winning streak to three games, while the Mountaineers (9-3) are looking to rebound for a close non-conference, overtime loss, 83-81, to No. 7 Baylor Bears, Dec. 23. Before that WVU had earn five consecutive victories.
Junior guard Maalik Wayns is pacing Villanova in scoring (17.4 points per game) and assists (5.2 per game), while junior forward Mouphtaou Yarou is second in points (12.9 ppg) and tops in rebounds (8.5 per game).
On Thursday, behind a team-best 12 points from Wayns, 'Nova defeated American University, 73-52. The victory was a refreshing outcome for a program that had dropped five of its last seven games.
Meanwhile, WVU is looking to avenge last season's 66-50 loss to the Wildcats at the Pavilion. Currently, senior forward Kevin Jones leads the conference in points (21.0) and rebounds (11.9) per game. On Monday, Jones was named the Big East Player Of The Week after averaging 23.0 ppg and 14.9 rpg in three games last week.