The Myrtle Beach Invitational championship game began promising for the No. 17 Villanova Wildcats, but a dismal defensive display ultimately culminated in a 87-78 loss to the Baylor Bears.
Offensively, Jay Wright’s squad remained fairly steady, ending the game shooting 51.9% from the field. The greatest dip in shooting, however, came in through the Wildcats’ three-point efforts. In the first half, ‘Nova was able to drain 42.9% from three—in the second half, that number dropped to a low 18.2%. In a team that prides itself on setting up looks for open shots beyond the arc, the inability to execute them becomes an ever greater wound to recover from.
Beyond the second-half three-point shooting downward spiral, Villanova looked wholly unable to defend itself underneath the basket. While freshman Jeremiah Robinson-Earl has flaunted his rebounding ability—with his 11 rebounds, he was the only ‘Nova player to even get close to double digits—the Wildcats did not have a mainstay presence down low to block shots with vitality.
Junior Collin Gillespie topped scoring for ‘Nova with 27 points and 6 assists, followed by Saddiq Bey’s 16 points. For Baylor, Jared Butler dropped a team-high 22 points.
Villanova moves on to meet the La Salle Explorers at home in the Finneran Pavilion on December 1st.