The five seasons Patrick Chambers spent on Jay Wright’s staff at Villanova helped prepare him for his current head coaching job at Boston University.
Now, Chambers must prepare the Terriers to face their biggest challenge of the young season.
Facing his former assistant for the first time, Wright and the sixth-ranked Wildcats try for a 40th consecutive victory at The Pavilion when they meet the Terriers on Wednesday night as part of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
Chambers served on Wright’s Villanova staff from 2004-09, helping guide the school to four NCAA tournament regional semifinal appearances and a 2009 Final Four berth. After leaving, the Radnor, Pa. native guided Boston University (1-1) to a 21-14 record and a spot in the semifinals of the College Basketball Invitational tournament in 2009-10.
After beating George Washington 76-67 on Tuesday, Chambers’ Terriers face a much more daunting task against Villanova (2-0), which had little trouble beating Marist 84-47. Sophomore Maalik Wayns scored 17 points and fellow guard Dominic Cheek added 15 as the Wildcats used a 19-1 first-half run to take control.
Villanova hasn’t lost at its on-campus arena since a 73-65 defeat to DePaul on Jan. 6, 2007.
“They’re No. 6 in the country and really, really good,” Marist coach Chuck Martin said. “Their guard play is tremendous. They deserve to be highly ranked. They understand how to keep their foot on your throat.”
Senior Corey Fisher had a tough game against Marist, finishing with 10 points and shooting 2 of 9 after scoring 24 in Villanova’s season-opening win over Bucknell. With the contributions of Wayns, Cheek and Maurice Sutton (13, nine rebounds Tuesday), the Wildcats don’t appear concerned.
“Corey is going to have some nights when he doesn’t have it going,” said Wayns, who has 32 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists through two games. “He’s the best guard in the country to me. I just have to pick him up when I can.”
Cheek and the 6-foot-11 Sutton paced a Villanova bench that scored 30 points.
“As long as we’re getting better, it doesn’t matter what the scores are,” Wright said. “Is our bench getting better? Are we developing depth?”
The win over George Washington was the first in four tries at the NIT Season Tip-Off for the Terriers. John Holland topped the 1,600-career point mark with 28 while Jake O’Brien added 20 and 10 rebounds
Holland, a senior swingman who averaged an America East-best 19.2 points last season, has scored 53 points through the first two games and is 17 of 27 from the field, including 8 for 14 from 3-point range.
This is the schools’ first meeting since Dec. 23, 1937, a 41-35 victory for Villanova.