The Villanova Wildcats kept things rolling on Saturday. In the wake of their huge win over the Marquette Golden Eagles earlier in the week, the Wildcats triumphed over the Butler Bulldogs with a 75-54 victory.
‘Nova was spurred by the play of, who else? Phil Booth. In his final game at the Wells Fargo Center, Booth went off for 28 points and needed just 15 attempts from the field to get there. He sunk 10 of them, including a mark of 4-for-7 from 3-point range and a 4-for-5 day at the FT line. This effort marked the 12th time this season that the fifth-year senior posted at least 20 points in a game, and falls just one point shy of his season-high 29 against the Kansas Jayhawks back on December 15.
Eric Paschall and Saddiq Bey complemented Booth’s 28-point showing with 12 and 11 point days at the office. Villanova got three double figure scorers and points from four other players who saw the floor. Collin Gillespie scored eight, Jermaine Samuels dropped seven after his outrageous performance the other day, Joe Cremo scored five and Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree put up four.
The Wildcats were down by nine at one point in the game, as Butler held a 19-10 edge at the 8:20 mark of the first half. ‘Nova couldn’t make anything but then finished the game out on a 65-35 run from there. Quite impressive, eh? The Wildcats were able to storm ahead at the 4:02 mark, taking a one-point lead that swelled up to four less than a minute later. While Butler tied the game at 30 later on, that would be as close as they’d get the rest of the way.
The Dawgs offense struggled in just about every aspect. They shot just 19.2 percent on 26 3-point attempts and 37.7 percent on 61 field goal attempts. They shot 10-for-34 from the field in the second half and just 3-for-16 from long range. They didn’t get to the line much at all either, as they had just five FT attempts and just two in the second half. Paul Jorgensen and Kamar Baldwin got into double figures, but barely, as Jorgensen led with 11 while Baldwin had 10. Aaron Thompson scored eight and Joey Brunk had seven, but no one else got more than five.
This was a pretty rough loss for the Dawgs, who now sit at 15-14 and have lost three in a row and four of their last five. They play the red-hot Xavier Musketeers next on Tuesday, and although they’re favored, Xavier can’t be stopped these days. They’re on track for what is by far their worst season since the first year they joined the Big East, which is certainly disappointing in many aspects.
Villanova, meanwhile, has one game left on the season. They play the Seton Hall Pirates next Saturday in Newark. Depending on what happens with Marquette this week, that matchup could very well allow them an opportunity to clinch a share of the Big East regular season championship yet again. Time will tell to see what happens, but for now, ‘Nova still remains hot on MU’s tail.