Villanova: As we close out 2019, most of College Basketball gets ready to open conference play and that is what we had on Monday Night as the Villanova Wildcats took on the Xavier Musketeers from Finneran Pavilion on the campus of Villanova University. Villanova came into the game at 9-2 and off a win over Number 1 ranked Kansas on December 21, while Xavier heads to the Main line at 11-2 following a win over TCU on December 22.
Villanova would take down Musketeers 68-62 to open Big East conference play.
This was the first conference game for both teams.
The question that was on everyones minds was ‘What could this young Villanova squad do after a huge upset win over the #1 ranked team in the nation before Christmas?
During the 2018-19 season, Villanova & Xavier would split both regular season games & Villanova would take down Xavier in overtime in the Big East Semifinals
How did the game go?
In the first half, Both teams struggled to make their shots and at one point, Xavier endured a 6 minute scoreless drought, helpless as the Wildcats went on a 21-0 run.
During that time, everyone inside Finneran Pavilion though this game was going to be a easy night for the wildcats. Villanova took 32-25 lead at halftime.
Both teams came out slow to start the second half but the Wildcats would get their acts together. Xavier hung around atod make things interesting as they chipped into the lead and dragged it down to 6 at 49-43 with 9:14 left. The Musketeers would have several chances at cutting that wildcats lead down to 6 on four separate occasions, with the last one being 66-60 with 42 seconds left.
When Xavier made their run, the Wildcats answered by making clutch shots featuring the three pointer. Xavier put up a good effort to make this game interesting and at times would scare the Wildcats, but they ran out of time as the Wildcats held on for 68-62 win.
What is next:
The Wildcats will now head to battle with Marquette on January 4 while Xavier takes on St Johns on January 5.
Colin Gillespie would lead the Wildcats with 24 points, 5 assists while Naji Marshall did the scoring for the Musketeers with 19 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds.
Montage of Coach Jay Wright & Travis Steele on the game:
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports