Butler defeated Villanova, 66-58, this evening to end the Wildcat’s 20 game win streak and drop ‘Nova to 2-1 in Big East play and 14-1 overall. The Bulldogs defense did an excellent job of taking Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins out of their comfort zones and limiting their effectiveness. On offense, Butler was able to score off dribble penetration with some frequency and make good use of the mid-range jump shot to attack the ‘Nova defense.
The combination of two costly turnovers in crunch time (one each from Jenkins and Hart), a first half technical foul on Jay Wright and an odd referee reversal of an out-of-bounds call tilted the result in Butler’s favor. The Bulldogs did a better job of executing on offense in the closing minutes than did the Cats and it was game over. Butler was comfortable playing at Villanova’s tempo and it showed down the stretch.
‘Nova was led by a gutsy offensive effort by Jalen Brunson (23 points) but hindered by the inability of Jenkins, Mikal Bridges and Eric Paschall to operate with efficiency on the offensive end of the court. The Villanova defense was solid in the first half and guarded the three-point line decently throughout but in the second half Butler posted 39 points while frequently getting in the lane.
- Shot 52% from two-point range
- Shot 82.4% from the FT line
- Only 6 turnovers
- Shot 37.3% from the floor
- Shot 23.1% from three-point range (3-17 shooting for players not named Jenkins)
- Forced only 8 Butler turnovers
- Out-rebounded 33-24
- Out-executed by Butler in the closing minutes
Josh Hart (34 Min, 13 Points, 3-11 FG, 1-5 3PFG, 6-7 FT, 8 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 1 Turnover, 107 ORtg) Butler had a solid game plan on how to defend Hart and executed it well. Though he had four fouls, Hart’s minutes weren’t limited but perhaps it took an edge off his level of aggressiveness off the bounce. Though this game wasn’t up to his National POY standard that he has set so far this season, Hart did emerge to make some huge buckets down the stretch and he contributed a strong performance on the glass. His offensive efficiency was solid despite a boat-load of attention from the Butler defense and a sub-par 1-5 shooting performance from beyond the arc.
Kris Jenkins (31 Min, 11 Points, 4-11 FG, 3-9 3PFG, 0-0 FT, 2 Rebounds, 0 Assist, 2 Turnovers, 84 ORtg) Though he scored on a dazzling dribble move to the basket in the first half, Jenkins game was generally limited to playing beyond the arc. His defensive effort was strong.
Darryl Reynolds (26 Min, 5 Points, 2-2 FG, 3 Rebounds, 2 Blocks, 169 ORtg) Scored on a left-handed post move and on a strong dunk. Made 1 of 2 FTs. Reynolds provided some rim protection and rebounding but the Cats could use a pinch more of everything from Reynolds moving forward.
Mikal Bridges (28 Min, 0 points, 0-3 FGs, 0-1 3PFG, 0-0 FTs, 2 Rebounds, 0 Assist, 1 Turnover, 0 Steals, 0 ORtg) Brdiges has been a model of off-the-charts offensive efficiency for the majority of his career but he followed up a poor outing at Creighton with an even more lack-luster offensive game at Hinkle. His defensive effort was strong.
Jalen Brunson (37 Min, 23 Points, 9-16 FGs, 1-4 3PFG, 4-4 FTs, 1 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 2 Turnovers, 2 Steals, 120 ORtg) Brunson followed up his scoring outburst at Creighton with another strong scoring game this evening. With a combined 50 points over the past two games, it is safe to say that Brunson is ready to exert himself as a primary scoring option on this team when Hart and Jenkins are smothered by opposing defenses. He was also very active on defense and played a strong floor game.
Eric Paschall (17 Min, 0 Points, 2 Rebounds, 0-4 FGs, 0-3 3PFGs, 0 Turnover, 32 ORtg) Seems to play a bit hurried at times and struggles to handle the ball in traffic. A pattern is emerging of Paschall settling for three-point jumpers.
Donte DiVincenzo (27 Min, 6 Points, 1-4 FG, 1-4 3PFG, 3-4 FTs, 4 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 0 Turnovers, 119 ORtg) DiVincenzo logged a lot of minutes with the game in the balance. He seems to be gaining the trust of the coaching staff to be counted on for more playing time in tougher environments and situations. He used some slashing drives to the bucket to get to the free throw line and otherwise stroked the open three-ball when open and prepped to shoot it. His on-the-ball defense is slowly improving.
Villanova faces Marquette on Saturday night at Wells Fargo Center.