#18 Villanova vs. Saint Joseph’s Preview | Big 5 Matchup
Written by David Szczepanski on November 28, 2023
Villanova prepares for a midweek showdown on Wednesday night with Saint Joseph’s in their second Big 5 game of the season. The Wildcats have won six of seven games to begin the season, including winning their last four games and the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament in the Bahamas. After a disappointing loss against Penn, Villanova rebounded against Maryland and answered the call in their toughest task to date against #14 North Carolina. With the tournament win, the Wildcats are now ranked #18 in the latest AP Poll that was released on Monday.
The Wildcats found offensive consistency in the Bahamas. They scored at least 79 points in all three games in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament. After struggling in the first few games, Eric Dixon found his confidence and scoring in the Bahamas, which led to him being named Battle 4 Atlantis MVP. He scored a career-high 34 points against North Carolina and led the team in points against Texas Tech with 19. Dixon continued his excellent rebounding in the Bahamas and the entire Villanova team, especially Dixon, has improved defensively over the last four games. On Thursday against Memphis, Dixon became the 71st Wildcat to score 1,000 points at Villanova.
Justin Moore is Villanova’s leading scorer through the first seven games. Moore is averaging 15.6 points per game while shooting 44% from the field. Even though Dixon was the best player for the Wildcats in the Bahamas, Moore also had a fantastic tournament. He averaged about 15 points in the tournament and helped Villanova in overtime against North Carolina. Moore enters Wednesday’s game with 1,490 career points.
As per usual, Villanova has excelled at the free throw line. In their first seven games of the season, the Wildcats have an 83.7% (133-159) free throw percentage. In addition to the great free throw shooting, Villanova has also played extremely well at the Finn since 2018-19. Villanova is now 43-5 in games played at the Finneran Pavilion since it was renovated in 2018.
Saint Joseph’s Preview
Villanova’s rival from about 20 minutes away, Saint Joseph’s, has started the season with a 4-2 record. The Hawks won their first three games against Lafayette, Penn, and Stonehill; however, they have dropped two of their last three games. Saint Joseph’s lost to #16 Kentucky in overtime and suffered an upset loss to Texas A&M Commerce.
The Hawks’ leading scorer is Erik Reynolds II. In his third season with Saint Joseph’s, Reynolds II has averaged 16 points with almost three assists per game. Reynolds II is an excellent shooter with a 41.5% three-point percentage. He scored 28 points against Kentucky on November 20th. The Hawks have also received good scoring production from Cameron Brown, Xzayvier Brown, and Rasheer Fleming. Xzayvier Brown is averaging around 11 points per game this season while shooting 53% from the field and 43% from behind the arc.
Saint Joseph’s offense has been solid through their first six games. They average 76 points per game. The Hawks have a 43% shooting percentage from the field and 33.8% from three. However, the one area of their offense that has struggled is their free throw shooting. The Hawks are just 60-89 (67.4%) from the charity stripe. Even though Villanova lost to Penn prior to the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament, the Wildcats made the Quakers shoot free throws. Penn’s poor free throw shooting allowed Villanova to stay in the game and have a chance late in the game. This Villanova team has made tremendous improvements since the Penn loss, but in a Big 5 Battle, the game can always be extremely close. The Wildcats could use Saint Joseph’s poor free throw shooting to their advantage in a late close game.
In terms of rebounding, the Wildcats and the Hawks are fairly average and pretty similar. Saint Joseph’s does have a slight advantage in that category. However, the Hawks have struggled with turnovers this season. They have turned the ball over 79 times with 13.2 turnovers on average per game. Villanova is averaging less than 10 turnovers per game.
Villanova Leads the All-Time Series
Villanova leads Saint Joseph’s in the all-time series, 55-25. The Wildcats defeated the Hawks last season, 71-64, on Hawk Hill. Eric Dixon had a double-double against Saint Joseph’s in that game.
Villanova will honor Jay and Patty Wright + WXVU Coverage
As a reminder, Villanova will honor Jay and Patty Wright by unveiling “Wright Way.” Wright Way is going to be the name of the street in between the Davis Center and the Finneran Pavilion on Villanova’s campus. The ceremony will start at 4:30pm on Wednesday in front of the Finneran Pavilion prior to tipoff against Saint Joseph’s.
WXVU will have live coverage of Wednesday’s game against Saint Joseph’s beginning at 6pm with the pregame show followed by tipoff at 6:30pm.