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Justin Moore’s resurgence pushes Villanova past Providence in impressive road victory | Villanova vs. Providence Recap

Written by on March 3, 2024

Villanova played one of their best games of the season with a truly gritty effort to beat Providence in Rhode Island, 71-60. The Wildcats now have complete control of their fate in the 5th place spot and final bye in the Big East Tournament. Justin Moore shot 4-6 from behind the arc to lead Villanova with 15 points, four assists, and three rebounds. The Cats’ won their first Quad 1 game since December 20th and improve to 10-8 in conference play.

The Wildcats had three starters score at least ten points: Justin Moore, Eric Dixon, and Mark Armstrong. Moore was definitely the player of the game for Villanova with numerous key shots. Dixon did not play his best game and struggled against Josh Oduro at times, but he still scored 11 points. Armstrong made some sloppy passes for turnovers, but he also contributed 10 points and started Villanova on a positive note to take over the game in the beginning of the second half.

As a team, the Wildcats converted 51% of their shots from the field and 56.5% from behind the arc. Villanova’s bench contributed 22 points compared to Providence’s eight bench points. The Wildcats tied the Friars with 27 rebounds. Villanova had 14 assists against Providence. In addition to tremendous shooting, the Cats’ also played excellent defense to hold the Friars to just 23 points in the second half.

After a hot start, Josh Oduro finished the game as Providence’s leading scorer with 16 points and nine rebounds. Devin Carter, who could win Big East Player of the Year with 19.3 points per game, shot 5-13 from the field and 1-6 from three to score 13 points and add nine rebounds. Ticket Gaines found some success from behind the arc with 11 points. The Friars shot 40% from the field and 33% from behind the arc. Villanova and Providence tied or were close in many categories like assists, turnovers, and rebounds, but Villanova’s second half offense, defense, and bench scoring made the difference in the final twenty minutes.

Game Recap

First Half: Close Offensive Battle

The start for Villanova was not ideal. After winning the jumpball, Dixon passed to TJ Bamba, who stepped out of bounds in the first five seconds. Just 17 seconds later, Ticket Gaines knocked down a three-point jumper to get the Friars on the board. Rich Barron and Gaines hit two more threes. However, Villanova did not let Providence’s three-point shooting affect their gameplay and energy.

Providence took a 12-6 lead into the first media timeout. The Friars converted four of their first eight three-point attempts. In fact, the Friars did not shoot a two-pointer in the first six minutes of the game. Villanova went on a nice run led by Brendan Hausen, Mark Armstrong, Jordan Longino, and Justin Moore. Moore’s layup with 12:26 left gave the Wildcats a two-point lead.

Both teams went back and forth for the next few minutes. This changed with a TJ Bamba three and Justin Moore three to extend the Wildcats lead to five points. The Wildcats started to knock down their shots and looked smooth offensively. Unfortunately, Villanova’s defense struggled to get some stops. Providence went on an 8-0 run led by Devin Carter to take a 29-28 lead over Villanova.

Josh Oduro carried Providence’s offense in the first ten minutes, but Devin Carter really took over the game in the final minutes of the first half. At the final media timeout, the Friars led Villanova, 35-30. To end the first half, Hakim Hart knocked down a three followed by an Oduro easy layup. Mark Armstrong had the opportunity to cut Villanova’s deficit to one, but he missed a short layup in the paint. The Friars took a three-point advantage into the locker room, 37-34.

Villanova did not have the lead at the break, but they played well in the first half to combat the energy in the Amica Mutual Pavilion. The Wildcats’ offense looked its best on the road possibly all season. The defense just needed to get some more stops. Justin Moore looked excellent in the first twenty minutes, and Villanova’s bench outscored Providence’s bench, 11-3.

Second Half: Justin Moore and Villanova Dominate

Against Quad 1 competition in such a crazy environment on the road, Villanova played a phenomenal second half. It all started with a hot start out of the break and the fantastic coaching adjustments by Coach Neptune and his staff. The Wildcats’ defense placed tremendous pressure on Providence and locked down Oduro and Carter. Mark Armstrong converted two nice mid-range jumpers to give Villanova their first lead of the second half, 38-37.

Providence’s offense had no response for Villanova’s defensive adjustments. Kim English was forced to call timeout just 90 seconds into the second half. After the timeout, Dixon responded with a three-point jumper. Dixon did not play well in the first twenty minutes, but he knocked down some key shots in the final twenty minutes, especially from behind the arc. The Friars did not score a basket in the second half until a Devin Carter layup about five minutes into the second.

The Wildcats quickly opened up a 13-point lead with a 9-0 run in about 80 seconds. They took a 52-39 lead with 13:18 left in the game. Villanova started the second half on an 18-2 run. They kept their lead around 12 points for the next seven or eight minutes. Oduro cut the advantage to eight points with 5:20 left, but Tyler Burton responded with a three to push the lead back to 11 points. Josh Oduro and Garwey Dual pulled Providence within six points with about two minutes left, but Justin Moore put the game away with a three-pointer.

My Thoughts + The Road Ahead

With Providence just ahead of them in the standings and March Madness rankings, this win for Villanova is monumental and tremendously helps their tournament hopes.  The Wildcats received contributions from their entire starting lineup and bench. Justin Moore and Brendan Hausen were the difference makers in this game. Moore looks like his confidence and scoring has returned to his preinjury play. He has accepted his “new role” with the Wildcats and has thrived for Villanova since mid-February. Hausen, who scored just two points in his last two games, scored nine points and shot 3-3 from behind the arc against the Friars. When Hausen finds success, Villanova also finds success. Overall, the Wildcats are most likely in the tournament with an at-large bid as of right now, but they still need some more wins to secure their ticket.

Big East Standings and WXVU’s Coverage of Villanova vs. Seton Hall

Villanova is now 17-12 overall and 10-8 in conference play. They are in 5th place in the Big East and hold the final bye in the Big East Tournament. Since they swept the season series against the Friars, Villanova holds the tiebreaker over Providence. The Wildcats play Seton Hall on Wednesday in Newark at 6:30pm. Seton Hall is another team that is ahead of the Wildcats in the conference standings. Another Quad 1 road win would go a long way for Villanova. WXVU’s coverage of Villanova vs. Seton Hall begins at 6pm with the pregame show.