In the constant tug of a battle of runs, the No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks outlasted the Villanova Wildcats 74-71 at Phog Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan.
After suffering through an upset at Penn earlier this week, the Wildcats seemed to understand the steely levels of bouncing back needed to beat the undefeated Jayhawks. Despite ‘Nova’s best efforts, however, coach Jay Wright’s squad couldn’t muster the necessary offensive heat.
For the Wildcats, those best efforts were certainly given to their full extent. Most notably, senior Phil Booth dropped a whopping 29 points—wildly, 21 of those points occurred in the second half of the game. Adding to Booth’s relentless will, fellow senior Eric Paschall scored 17 points, followed closely by sophomore Collin Gillespie’s 15 points. While freshman Saddiq Bey only put up 7 points on the scoreboard, Bey’s agile presence infused much-needed energy for the Wildcats in multiple sequences.
Ultimately, while both Villanova and Kansas participated in their fair share of messy turnovers and disjointed communication, ‘Nova could not compete with Kansas’ top-scoring and rebounding. Lagerald Vick and Dedric Lawson shot 29 and 28 points respectively, and the Jayhawks as a whole scored 50% of their total field goals. Out-rebounding Villanova 35-26, Kansas secured 26 defensive rebounds compared to ‘Nova’s 16. On a brighter note for the Wildcats, Villanova forced 14 turnovers and managed to out-steal the Jayhawks.
Now 8-4 for the season, Villanova moves on to play UConn next Saturday, Dec. 22nd in Madison Square Garden, New York.