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Villanova vs. Butler Recap: Wildcats storm back in second half to down the Bulldogs

Down by six at the half, Villanova took control early in the second quarter behind a double-double performance from Josh Hart

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Facing a six-point deficit at halftime, Josh Hart and the Villanova Wildcats stormed back in the second half to knock off the Butler Bulldogs 60-55 at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Sunday night. Hart, who had 22 points and ten rebounds, led all players in scoring on 10-of-15 shooting from the field.

The Wildcats outscored the Bulldogs 39 to 28 in the second half, and while the Bulldogs did bring it back within one point in the game's final minutes, Hart's 14 second half points kept Villanova firmly in the driver's seat. Ryan Arcidiacano added 11 points, four assists and three rebounds of his own despite shooting just 3-of-14 from the field, and Daniel Ochefu finished with five rebounds and six points, including two late-game free throws that sealed the Villanova victory.

Leading things for the Bulldogs was senior forward Roosevelt Jones, who entered the game battling a left wrist injury that he suffered in practice this week. Jones was massively important for the Bulldogs as they attempted to rally in the second half, posting 20 points and five rebounds, with 14 coming in the game's second half. Senior guard Kellen Dunham (13 points) and sophomore forward Tyler Wideman (10 rebounds, six rebounds, three assists) each finished with double digits in the scoring column, and Dunham added a pair of three's along the way.

All things considered, it was a notable defensive struggle for both sides, with each team struggling from the field and especially from behind the thee point line. Along with 13 turnovers, the Wildcats connected on 41.5 percent of their looks from the field and shot a dismal 26 percent from three on 15 attempts. It was even more dramatic for the Bulldogs, who shot just 36.5 percent from the field and 21.4 percent from three on 14 attempts.

Sophomore guard Kelan Martin, who has been explosive off the bench for the Bulldogs this season, entered the game averaging 14.3 points per game and finished with just two points on 1-of-8 shooting. Villanova did a wonderful job of making each possession difficult for the Bulldogs on the offensive end, and that defensive length and tenacity kept both Martin and Dunham from fully taking over at any point in the contest.

Next up, the Wildcats will take on Marquette on Wednesday, Jan. 13 at 8:30 p.m. ET and the Bulldogs will host St. John's on Saturday, Jan. 16 at 12 p.m. ET.