Villanova loses their fourth straight game despite Eric Dixon’s 28-point performance | Villanova vs. Butler Recap
Written by David Szczepanski on January 28, 2024
Villanova continues to drop in the Big East standings as they suffer their fourth consecutive loss against Butler, 88-81, in double overtime. The Wildcats and Bulldogs played an entertaining game for 50 minutes, including both overtimes, but Villanova is not playing for entertaining games. They desperately need wins against Big East competition. Villanova is now just 11-9 overall and 4-5 in conference play.
Eric Dixon had another tremendous performance against Butler with 28 points, including four three-pointers, six rebounds, and five assists. He did have a team-leading five turnovers, but he kept Villanova in the game and gave them a chance to win. Tyler Burton, TJ Bamba, and Hakim Hart all scored at least ten points. For the first time this season, Hakim Hart started in place of Mark Armstrong. Hart scored 10 points on 4-7 shooting from the field with six rebounds. Armstrong played 22 minutes for eight points and was +6 when on the court. Justin Moore really struggled for the Wildcats with just five points, three rebounds, and four assists. He was 2-12 from the field and 0-5 from three with two turnovers.
DJ Davis led Butler with 28 points, including five threes. Jahmyl Telfort converted 7 of 12 field goals for 22 points and 11 rebounds. Pierre Brooks scored 13 points in 44 minutes. Posh Alexander was just 3-13 from the field and 0-5 from three, but he accumulated 12 points and eight rebounds.
The Wildcats shot 48% from the field and 30% from behind the arc. Villanova went to the free throw line just nine times and made just six attempts. Butler made 43% of their shots from the field and 31% from three. In one of the biggest differences in the game, the Bulldogs went to the charity stripe 22 times and converted 17 attempts (77%).
Other disadvantages for Villanova were the rebounding battle and turnover battle. They were outrebounded, once again, by 10 rebounds. The Wildcats finished the game with 14 turnovers compared to Butler’s 10 turnovers. Villanova won the paint scoring battle by eight points (44-36), but the rebounding issues, turnover troubles, and poor free throw shooting/lack of attempts cost them the game in double overtime.
First Half: Eric Dixon and Villanova’s Great Start
Villanova could not have asked for a better start in this game. The Wildcats started the afternoon with an 11-0 run led by Eric Dixon with 9 quick points in the first six minutes. Butler finally got on the board with a Posh Alexander layup. However, Villanova extended their lead to 14 points with a Justin Moore short jump shot. The Wildcats led the Bulldogs, 17-3, with 11:40 left in the first half.
Jahmyl Telfort and the Bulldogs cut the deficit to just five points with 6:13 left. At the final media timeout of the first half, Villanova led Butler, 29-21, with just three minutes left to play. Mark Armstrong and Eric Dixon ended the first half with some more points, and the Wildcats led by nine points, 36-27, at halftime.
The Wildcats did an excellent job at scoring in the paint, but they converted just 1 of 8 three-point attempts in the first half. Eric Dixon led all scorers with 14 points in the first twenty minutes. Villanova also won the rebounding battle in the first half, 16-10.
Second Half: Defensive Struggles for Villanova
Tyler Burton scored four quick points in the paint to begin the second half. The Wildcats still held a seven-point lead with 16 minutes left to play in regulation in Indiana. Both teams would then go on a three-minute scoring drought. That was finally ended by a successful Tyler Burton free throw.
After an Eric Dixon three, Villanova led by ten-points again with just 8:46 left in regulation. Justin Moore would extend the lead to 12 points with a dunk. Jahmyl Telfort and DJ Davis both made three-pointers for Butler to get within five points, 59-54, with 3:22 left to play. Once again, Villanova’s defense from behind the arc collapsed and the offense could not score in key moments to stop the Bulldogs’ run. Davis hit another three to make it a two-point game with sixty seconds left in regulation.
Dixon missed a long jump shot and Telfort converted a dunk to tie the game at 64 with five seconds left. Justin Moore had just enough time to shoot a three before the buzzer, but it did not fall.
TJ Bamba really stepped up for Villanova in the first overtime, but DJ Davis continued his scoring in overtime, too. The first overtime would not be enough to decide a winner at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Villanova led by four points with 2:46 left in the second overtime after Hart and Burton layups. However, Telfort and Davis responded again with four quick points in favor of the Bulldogs. Posh Alexander converted a layup with 45 seconds left to give Butler the lead, 80-78.
Despite another Dixon three, Villanova could not stop the efficient scoring and great effort from Butler in overtime. Telfort, Davis, and Alexander consistently knocked down free throws and sealed the victory for Butler.
Villanova’s Struggles at Hinkle Fieldhouse Continue
Villanova is now 5-6 against Butler at Hinkle Fieldhouse since 2013.
Wildcats’ Injury Update
Prior to tipoff, Villanova announced that Nnanna Njoku underwent successful surgery on his right knee on Friday. He will be out indefinitely.
The Road Ahead + WXVU Coverage
The Wildcats’ next game will be on Tuesday against #14 Marquette at the Finneran Pavilion. WXVU will have live coverage of Villanova vs. Marquette beginning at 6:30pm with the pregame show. Tipoff is scheduled for 7pm.