The last time the Villanova Wildcats lost a basketball game was January 20 at the hands of Creighton. Since then, the team has been on an absolute tear, just waiting for a chance for redemption. Today, the team got its chance to finish the regular seasons with the last laugh.
The No. 6 Wildcats traveled to Omaha looking for a different result from earlier this season, but they left feeling the same amount of misery, getting trounced by the No. 18 Bluejays 101-80.
As difficult as it is to believe after looking at the score, the game was close for most of the first half. Doug McDermott scored the first 11 points for Creighton, but Nova continued to keep it close. Through the first 15:10 of the first half, the Jays were not able to extend their lead beyond 6 points at any point, as Nova remained within striking distance at 35-31.
Then, Creighton called a game changing timeout. I'd love to know what Greg McDermott said, because I'll use it for the rest of my life to achieve similar results as his did.
Coming out of the TO, the game was never the same. Creighton immediately went on an 11-0 run, which extended the lead out to 15, and it would never be close the rest of the way. The Cats would not be able to get any closer than 11 points from that point on, as McDermott's club would roll to an easy victory.
It may be something about the color of Villanova's jerseys that allows the entire Creighton basketball team to not be able to miss from the field. The Jays were great once again in this one, shooting 34-53 (56%) from the field, 9/15 (60%) from 3-point range, and 24/26 (92%) from the charity stripe. Basically, if there's a spot on the floor that's considered inbounds, the Bluejays shot a stupidly high percentage from there.
Individually, the younger McDermott was nothing short of spectacular in this game. "Dougie McBuckets" finished the contest with a game-high 39 points on 13/17 shooting from the field, and 9/9 from the free throw line. In the process, McDermott moved to 13th on the NCAA all-time scoring list, passing some guy named Larry Bird. McDermott career point total now stands at 2,850, nine points behind Tyler Hansbrough for 12th all-time.
McDermott was not the only Bluejay that ended up scoring din double figures. Three other Creighton players also reached the double-digit plateau. Isaiah Zierden was the next leading scorer, finishing up the game with 13 points off the bench. Guards Devin Brooks and Grant Gibbs were the two other Bluejays in double figures, with 12 and 11 points respectively.
Despite the large final deficit, Villanova in no way shot poorly from the field either. The Cats finished 23/51 (45%) from the field to go along with a 23/26 (88%) performance from the free throw line as well.
After a game off from his leading scorer role, James Bell once again was the top scorer for Jay Wright's squad. Bell finished with 18 points for the game, despite being in foul trouble for most of the first half. Also finishing in double-digits was JayVaughn Pinkston, who scored all 15 of his points in the second half, and Dylan Ennis, who finished with 11.
Once again, the Wildcats will have to move past another embarrassing loss to the Bluejays, who have had their number in both matchups, winning by an average of 24.5 points. Villanova will now need to prove that the team has a short-term memory, with a road trip to face a feisty Providence Friars team on Tuesday. Creighton will get one day more to relish this victory before traveling to Milwaukee to take on the surging Marquette Golden Eagles on Wednesday.