After three days of intense competition, the 2017 Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis tournament came to an end yesterday at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island.
Behind 19 points from Mikal Bridges, the Villanova Wildcats pulled away down the stretch to beat Northern Iowa (UNI) 64-50 in the tournament’s championship game. Jalen Brunson added 16 points and was named the tournament’s most valuable player for Villanova (6-0). The Wildcats were in the driver’s seat most of the game and then used an 8-0 run in the final four minutes to pull away from the Panthers.
“The reason you are able to win five of these is by having good players who are intelligent,” noted head coach Jay Wright, who recorded his 392nd victory at Villanova today. “There’s a challenge coming here. Everything is taken care of for you. You are treated like a king. But there are a lot of temptations here in Paradise. If you get caught up in that, and that’s more important to you than being a good player and teammate that can affect you.
“These guys, and the guys we have had over the years, are really good basketball players. They know this is an opportunity to play great competition and take it very seriously.”
Villanova jumped out to 16-9 advantage with 11:02 in the first period and took a 32-29 lead at halftime. In the second half the Wildcats clamped down on defense, limiting the Panthers to just four points through the first eight minutes of the second half. Villanova slowly pushed its lead to 44-33 with just over six minutes left to play. UNI got no closer than six points the rest of the way.
“We want to give Northern Iowa a lot of credit,” added Wright. “What a smart, disciplined, intelligent team. That team prepared us for Big East games against Creighton and Butler, as they play a very similar style.”
Prior to the start of the tournament, Sports Illustrated ranked the Battle 4 Atlantis as the top early-season National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I tournament. The B4A beat out popular tournaments such as the Maui Jim Maui Invitational and the Phil Knight Invitational.
Along with Villanova and UNI, other teams that participated in this year’s event include the University of Arizona, Purdue University, Western Kentucky University, the University of Tennessee, North Carolina State and Southern Methodist University.