Villanova earns their first Quad 1 victory on Tuesday Night | Villanova vs. Xavier Recap
Written by David Szczepanski on February 23, 2023
On Tuesday night, Villanova finally recorded their first Quad 1 Victory of the season against Xavier in Cincinnati. Justin Moore was phenomenal for the Wildcats by shooting 10-13 from the field and scoring 25 points. Cam Whitmore grabbed four rebounds and accumulated 11 points on Tuesday. Villanova also received contributions from Mark Armstrong and Jordan Longino off the bench. They combined for ten points. Villanova defeated Xavier, 64-63.
Xavier’s leading scorer was Souley Boum, who scored 17 points. The Musketeers also had four of their five starters, including Boum, score at least ten points.
First Half Recap:
With about nine minutes left in the first half, Jack Nunge completed a three-point play for Xavier to give the Musketeers a 26-13 lead. Although Villanova’s recent games have been close down to the wire, it seemed like Nova was losing control of this game quickly. After all, Xavier had not lost a home game in Big East play all season and they only lost one home game in pre-conference play.
However, Villanova’s offense dug deep and came up with a 7-0 run that provided a spark for the Wildcats. They were able to cut the deficit to just six points with about four minutes left. The Wildcats went on to complete a 12-5 run to end the first half, which kept them trailing by just six points, 36-30, heading into the break.
Second Half Recap:
To begin the second half, Cam Whitmore really heated up for Villanova and joined Justin Moore as the only other starter in double digits for Nova. After cutting the deficit to just two points, Justin Moore and Eric Dixon made tough layups to give Villanova their first lead since the very beginning of the game. Villanova continued to hold a slight lead over Xavier with just three minutes left to play as Jordan Longino turned Villanova’s seventh steal of the game into a three-point play.
With almost a minute left to go and a three-point lead for the Wildcats, Eric Dixon turned the ball over. The Wildcats then immediately fouled Souley Boum, who cut the Xavier deficit to just one point after knocking down both shots from the charity stripe. Villanova called timeout after Boum’s free throws. After the timeout, Dixon traveled, and the Wildcats needed to come up with a huge defensive stop with the game clock at just 11 seconds. The Wildcats played solid defense, and Souley Boum missed the layup. Brandon Slater grabbed the defensive rebound to end the game.
Villanova just barely held on against Xavier, but the Wildcats will definitely take a gritty win on the road against a super talented team in #16 Xavier. Villanova’s defense was tremendous in the second half by limiting the Musketeers to only 27 points in the final twenty minutes of play. Nova had seven steals on Tuesday night.
More Game Stats:
The Wildcats shot 44.6% from the field and 31.6% from behind the arc. The Musketeers shot 45.1% from the field and 34.8% from three over 23 attempts. Villanova also made 8-9 free throws on Tuesday night. The Wildcats were outrebounded, 34-26, but made up for the lack of rebounds by stealing the ball seven times. Xavier also turned the ball over 14 times to Villanova’s seven turnovers.
The Road Ahead for Villanova:
Villanova will battle #19 Creighton on Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center in the second to last home game of the season. Tip-off is scheduled for 12pm and WXVU will have complete coverage of Saturday’s key matchup. Nova will then travel to New Jersey on Tuesday to battle Seton Hall at the Prudential Center.