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Justin Moore’s Saves Villanova’s Season with Risky Three-pointer | Villanova vs. DePaul Recap + Marquette Preview

Written by on March 14, 2024

With the season on the line with just 17 seconds left on the clock, Justin Moore sends Villanova to the Big East Quarterfinals and relieves Nova Nation of almost complete disappointment and embarrassment. DePaul, who lost 19 straight games coming into the Big East Tournament yesterday, held a three-point lead in the final two minutes. However, the Wildcats survived and advanced with their 18th overall win of the season.

Due to his season saving three-pointer, Justin Moore is the player of the game with 10 points and six rebounds in 31 minutes. In addition to Moore, Eric Dixon and Mark Armstrong played well for Villanova. Despite converting just three of 12 three-point attempts, Dixon scored 21 points to lead all scorers. After DePaul went on an extended 11-0 run, Dixon carried the Wildcats back into the game from down eight points to tie the game late in the second half. Armstrong utilized his speed and had impressive stretches for 11 points and four assists. Moore, Dixon, Armstrong, and Jordan Longino combined for 51 of Villanova’s 58 points. Unfortunately, Jordan Longino suffered an injury early in the second half. There is no current update for today’s game status for Longino.

#6 Villanova defeats #11 DePaul, 58-57, to advance to the Big East Tournament Quarterfinals tonight against Marquette.

As a team, Villanova converted 42% of their shots from the field and 31.4% from behind the arc. The Wildcats needed an improvement from behind the arc in the second half after shooting just 26.7% from three in the first twenty minutes. Justin Moore and Villanova responded with seven threes in the second half, which pushed Villanova across the finish line.

Jalen Terry was DePaul’s star of the game. Terry, a senior from Flint, Michigan, had a double-double with 18 points and 15 rebounds. He also had five assists for DePaul. The Blue Demons’ role players stepped up for them all night long. Da’Sean Nelson contributed seven points and three assists. Jeremiah Oden converted three of his eight field goal attempts for eight total points. At the end of the game, DePaul shot 37% from the field and 32% from three.

The Wildcats were honestly outplayed by the 3-28 Blue Demons for most of the game. DePaul, who averaged just 29 rebounds prior to the Big East Tournament, won the rebounding battle, 37-33. Villanova had just three offensive rebounds. Villanova also lost the turnover margin by three to the Blue Demons. DePaul played their best game all season, but Villanova ended their magical performance and sent them home.

Overall, it was about as ugly of a win as a team could get; however, Villanova kept their March Madness hopes alive and play Marquette tonight at 9:30pm. If Villanova defeats Marquette to get their 19th win of the season, they would be extremely close to a March Madness ticket. It would help their bubble resume, but with a lot of the bubble teams winning the last two days, Villanova may even need another win tomorrow.

Marquette Preview

Tonight, Villanova seeks revenge against #3 seed Marquette in the Big East Tournament. The Golden Eagles swept the regular season series. In fact, the Cats’ have not defeated Marquette since February 10, 2021 at the Finneran Pavilion. That is six consecutive wins for the Golden Eagles.

Marquette is 23-8 overall and 14-6 in conference play. Marquette will play tonight without one of their best players, Tyler Kolek. Kolek suffered an oblique injury at the end of the regular season but should be available for the start of March Madness. The Golden Eagles, who are currently ranked the 10th best team in the country by the AP Top 25 Poll, are led by Kam Jones. Jones averages 16.7 points per game and scored 30 points against Xavier on March 9th.

As a team, Marquette shoots 48% from the field. They average 79 points per game and limit their turnovers to just ten per contest. Marquette also converts 35.6% of their three-point attempts. The Golden Eagles also play tremendous defense by forcing almost nine steals per game.

Marquette’s Players to Watch

G Kam Jones (Junior, Memphis, TN): 16.7 ppg, averaged 22 points in the two games against Villanova in the regular season

F Oso Ighodaro (Senior, Chandler, AZ): 14.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg, scored 24 against Xavier on 3/9

G Stevie Mitchell (Junior, Reading, PA): 8.6 ppg, 1.9 steals per game, scored 11 points against Xavier

Golden Eagles’ Weaknesses

Two areas of weakness for Marquette would be their free throw shooting and rebounding. The Golden Eagles convert just 71% of their shot attempts from the charity stripe. Kolek is their best free throw shooter, so Villanova must use Marquette’s free throw struggles to their advantage. The Wildcats have just 10 free throw attempts in their last two games (against Creighton and against DePaul). The Cats’ are the best free throw shooting team in the nation and need to start drawing more fouls to do serious damage in the Big East Tournament.

Marquette is a good rebounding team with 32.6 rebounds per contest. However, Kolek averages 4.7 of those rebounds, and Villanova has the statistical advantage in that category by about two rebounds even if Kolek played. However, Villanova was outrebounded last night by DePaul and cannot get offensive rebounds. With Kolek out, the task gets easier for Villanova, but Jones and the Golden Eagles still present an enormous threat. The Cats’ kept the first two games somewhat close, but Marquette’s stars took control of the game late.

My Thoughts + Keys to the Game

Overall, the Wildcats must win this game to make March Madness. With a Quarterfinals win over the Golden Eagles, Villanova should be on the edge of the bubble with their 19th win depending on the other bubble squads. The Wildcats could need another win tomorrow against Creighton/Providence, but this Marquette game means the world for the Cats’. The goal is simple: survive and advance. My keys to the game are get off to a good start, limit Kam Jones and/or Oso Ighodaro, and limit the turnovers. The Wildcats have proven that they are often a slow starting squad, especially offensively. They cannot start the game down by double-digits in the first few minutes like Saturday’s loss against Creighton and Villanova’s most recent loss against Marquette. Without Kolek, Marquette will look to their two other stars: Kam Jones and Oso Ighodaro. The Wildcats must contain at least one of those players and force Marquette’s bench to beat them tonight. My final key to the game is finding a way to limit the turnovers against Marquette. The Cats’ were sloppy with the basketball last night, especially early in the second half. The Golden Eagles are one of the best defensive teams in the country and Big East. They force turnovers and create havoc for offenses. Villanova must be more efficient with their passes and find ways to get into the paint, specifically with Eric Dixon.

WXVU’s Live Coverage of Villanova vs. Marquette

WXVU’s live coverage of #6 Villanova vs. #3 Marquette begins at 9pm with the pregame show live from Madison Square Garden. Tipoff is scheduled for 9:30pm. You can follow @wxvu.sports on Instagram for up to date broadcast information.