Villanova PA: As the calendar turned to January and that means the start of conference play in College basketball and that is what we had on Wednesday night as the Villanova Wildcats took on the DePaul Blue Demons to open Big East Conference play from Finneran Pavilion on the campus of Villanova University.
Villanova came into the game with 9-4 record and being off for 10 days after their win over Uconn on December 22 at Madison Square Garden while their opponent DePaul enters battle with the Wildcats with an 8-4 record and off a loss to Xavier on December 29.
DePaul would open the scoring on the basket from Eli Cain for the early 2-0 lead, Villanova would answer to tie the game at 2 on Collin Gillespie basket, DePaul would bring the fight to the Wildcats as they would have a 14 point lead at 30-16 with 10:22 left in the first half. The Wildcats would take a bite into the lead as they would go on an 18-4 run as the Blue Deams would take a 38-34 lead into halftime.
In the second half, The Blue Demons would keep the pressure on the Wildcats as they would get the lead back up to 11 at 45-34 with 17:04 left. The Wildcats would again not go away without a fight as they would get the lead down to 2 at 53-51 with 10:18 left. Blue Demons just could not handle the pressure that the Wildcats was putting on and Villanova would take their first lead of the game on 3 by Phil Booth with 7:58 left.
3 pointer by Phil Booth called by Tim Brando of FS1:
The DEEP 👌 gives @NovaMBB its first lead of the night.#BIGEASThoops pic.twitter.com/oWCg3VueVA
— BIG EAST MBB (@BIGEASTMBB) January 3, 2019
Villanova Radio Announcer Ryan Fannon on 610 ESPN:
“DePaul leads 56-55, Booth Long distance 3 is good from straight away and that Villanova first lead of the game 58-56 cats lead under 8 to go”
The Wildcats would get the lead up to 6 at 69-63 with 3:56 left. DePaul would make things very interesting down the stretch as they would cut the lead to 3 and would have a chance to tie the game at the buzzer and it would come up short as the Wildcats rally back to take down DePaul 73-68 to open Big East Conference play.
the Wildcats now go to 10-4 (1-0 in Big East) and look to build off the win as they head to Providence on January 5 at 2 PM on FOX and Blue Demons fall to 8-5 and will try to get back in the win column as they come home to take on Seton Hall on January 6.
Eric Paschall: 24 points, 8 rebounds
Phil Booth & Saddiq Bey each with 15 points
DePaul Blue Demons:
Eli Cain & Max Strus each with 16 points
Fem Olujobi: 12 points, 4 rebounds
Villanova Coach Jay Wright Postgame:
Post-Game Press Conference https://t.co/Eg8C0oRbA8
— Villanova MBB (@NovaMBB) January 3, 2019