Butler came into the Pavilion and cooked up a similar recipe against Villanova to the one they used to defeat the Cats earlier this season. The results were incredibly similar as the Bulldogs went on 32-17 run in the final 10:37 of the game to turn a seven point deficit around and, once again, beat Villanova by eight points. The 74-66 win for the #22 ranked Bulldogs kept alive their hopes of racing back to grab a share of the Big East regular season championship.
Kelan Martin (22 points), Kamar Baldwin (15 points) and Avery Woodson (13 points) led the charge for Butler while the Cats got solid offensive performances from Jalen Brunson (24 points) and Josh Hart (18) but not enough from the rest of the cast.
Butler’s offense was able to spread the Villanova defense, drain the deep jumper when needed and drive to the cup effectively through gaps. The Bulldogs shared the ball beautifully to the tune of 21 assists on 27 made baskets. Meanwhile, the Butler offense clogged up Hart’s dribble-drive game, flustered Kris Jenkins and forced 15 Villanova turnovers. The Bulldog defense limited the ‘Nova drive and dish game, resulting in the Cats posting only 8 assists on twenty-five made baskets.
- 57.6% 2PFGs
- Gang rebounded well enough to make the rebounding a push
- The moxie of Jalen Brunson
- Forced 16 turnovers
- Shooting defense: allowed 60.7% 2PFG, 40% 3PFG
- Bench scoring: Butler 32 - Villanova 6
- Bench minutes: Butler 80 - Villanova 29
- Cats shot 6-24 (25% from 3-point range)
- 62.5% FT - missed several front-ends of one-and-ones
Josh Hart (37 Min, 18 Points, 7-18 FG, 4-10 3PFG, 0-4 FTs, 6 Rebounds, 1 Assists, 3 Turnovers, 0 Steal, 0 Blocks, 94 ORtg) Hart was really in “grind” mode throughout this game. In spots, his defense was a positive - at other times, not so much. He had difficulty covering Martin but found other ways to wreak some havoc. He was a bright spot offensively for the Cats - with the exception of his uncharacteristic, struggle at the free-throw line. Took a lot of threes - perhaps in response to how physically he was being thwarted on the way to the rim.
Kris Jenkins (32 Min, 8 Points, 1-8 FG, 1-5 3PFG, 5-6 FT, 6 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 0 Steals, 2 Turnovers, 89 ORtg) After a great shooting game against Seton Hall and what seemed to be a return to form for his jumper, Jenkins took a step back. He had a couple airballs and couldn’t find the range when posting up either. Jenkins rebounded the ball well and played some good positional defense. He, like his teammates, seemed a half step slow to the ball through much of the game.
Mikal Bridges (37 Min, 2 points, 1-3 FGs, 0-1 3PFG, 0-0 FTs, 5 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 3 Turnovers, 2 Steals, 1 Block, 61 ORtg) There have not been many games in the still rather young career of Mikal Bridges where he hasn’t done a lot of good things across the board. He struggled to get good shots on offense and had some trouble guarding the Baldwin, Savage, Woodson group. He played hard and helped to ratchet up the pressure late, create some turnovers and keep ‘Nova in it for a bit down the stretch. Unfortunately, he and Jenkins had some struggles during the 15-0 run in which Butler flipped the game around in the second half.
Jalen Brunson (37 Min, 24 Points, 9-13 FGs, 1-4 3PFG, 5-6 FTs, 4 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 5 Turnovers, 1 Steals, 120 ORtg) The biggest positive for the Cats in this game was the continued high quality play of Brunson. He slithered his way to the rim at critical moments, posted guys up and hit key mid-range jumpers too. His 8-9 performance from two-point range kept the Cats in the fight.
Eric Paschall (28 Min, 8 Points, 4-8 FGs, 0-2 3PFG, 0-0 FT, 3 Rebounds, 0 Assists, 0 Turnovers, 0 Steals, 0 Block, 128 ORtg) Paschall provided an offensive spark in the first half when he made himself available on the interior and converted at the rim. When he wandered out to shoot the three he wasn’t as productive. Paschall chipped in with some physical defense and rebounding.
Donte DiVincenzo (28 Min, 6 Points, 3-7 FG, 0-2 3PFG, 0-0 FT, 4 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 2 Turnovers, 2 Steals, 0 Block, 90 ORtg) DiVincenzo contributed a couple of big O-boards and timely buckets but couldn’t get his jump shot going - on a night when Villanova needed a scoring spark from the bench.
Dylan Painter (1 Min, 0 Points, 0-0 FG, 0 Rebound, 0 TO) Painter only got a brief run in the first half - in part because Kris Jenkins sat out some time with two personal fouls.
Villanova (#2 AP, 26-3 overall, 13-3 Big East) next plays Saturday at 3:00 p.m. on Senior Night at the Pavilion against Creighton.