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Villanova Wins Snail Race Against Gaels

Booth leads Wildcats to first round win

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round- Villanova vs Saint Mary’s David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Slow, Tedious, A little dry at times describes the pace and offense of this game. The game opened up withe back-to-back threes from Jermaine Samuels and Saddiq Bey. St. Mary’s slowly, but surely clawed their way back into the game. St. Mary’s walk-on Tommy Kuhse was instrumental early on, keeping the Gaels within two points for most of the first half. At any given point during the game, either team was 1-of-7 or 0-of-5 from the field.

Eric Paschall struggled early, however a combined scoring punch from Collin Gillespie and Phil Booth kept Villanova in the lead. St. Mary’s clawed they’re way in, one 30 second possession at a time. By the under-8 mark, it was 23 apiece. St. Mary’s and Villanova went back and forth, blow for blow until the first half ended with a 2 point lead for St. Mary’s.

The second half saw Villanova in control. With Booth being the driving force of a 12-3 run to start the half, Villanova never really looked back. Villanova looked extremely sharp on defense this half, with Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree racking up blocks and cleaning the glass. On the offensive end, Jermaine Samuels and Phil Booth continued to have the hot hands, with Paschall eventually opening up the basket. Villaonva would continue to hold on to the lead, finishing the game off 61-57.

Phil Booth finished with 20 points on 7/13 shooting and six assists (ESPN will mention it 30 times if he plays in the NBA). Samuels had 12 points and seven rebounds. Paschall had 14 points. While it seems like a mundane offensive performance, their defense was solid against a smart Gaels team.

On Saturday, Villanova will play the winner of Purdue and Old Dominion.