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RECAP: Villanova takes down Penn, 71-56

Gillespie and Slater shine in Big 5 win.

NCAA Basketball: Morgan State at Villanova Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Villanova Wildcats (5-2) handily defeated the Penn Quakers (3-7) by a final score of 71-56, this Wednesday evening.

The game started off with a barrage of connections from the Wildcats early, propelling them to an early advantage. Penn quickly settled into their rhythm and countered with a couple of quick baskets of their own, before Collin Gillespie went on his own 6-0 run to take a 12 point advantage into the halftime break. Penn would then come out of the locker room strong and connect on 7-18 shots from deep, but could not hold off the Wildcats firepower in the late stages of the game.

For the Penn Quakers, this was their third game against a ranked opponent, just ten games into the season. From what we saw on Wednesday night, head coach Steve Donahue already has them playing at a high level and they will certainly be a force to be reckoned with in the Ivy League this season. Another bright spot for the Quakers in this game was the performance of sophomore guard Jordan Dingle, who finished the game with 21 points and 4 rebounds. Both of those marks were good enough for team highs in the game, and he was the second-leading scorer in the gym Wednesday night behind Villanova’s Collin Gillespie. The Quakers will build off of this outing and I expect them to contend for a conference championship this season.

As for the Wildcats, this was their second Big 5 win of the year, and they will look for the series sweep this Saturday when they take on the Saint Joseph’s Hawks in the annual Holy War. Villanova played about as good a game as you could ask for in a tough Big 5 matchup. They had nine different players log minutes and never really felt threatened much during the entirety of the contest. The Wildcats were led by Collin Gillespie who lead both teams with 26 points on 4-8 shooting from beyond the arc. Brandon Slater was another key contributor who scored a very efficient 16 points, only missing one shot in the entire game.

As previously mentioned, the Wildcats will turn their attention to the Saint Joseph’s Hawks on Saturday to wrap up their Big 5 part of the schedule. The Hawks will be coming into this matchup riding a two-game winning streak, with one win coming against Big East foe Georgetown. Saint Joseph’s always plays Villanova tough and their rivalry has been aptly named the ‘Holy War’. You can catch that game on FS1 on Saturday, December 4 at Noon ET.