Villanova shocks #12 Creighton with OT win | Villanova vs. Creighton Recap
Written by David Szczepanski on December 22, 2023
Villanova shocks #12 Creighton with a Big East opener win in Omaha. It took the Wildcats an extra five minutes in overtime, but they defeated the Bluejays, 68-66. Eric Dixon was the player of the game with 32 points, six rebounds, a block, and a steal. The Wildcats improve to 8-4 and are tied for the extremely early first place lead in the Big East.
Final Game Stats
Villanova: Eric Dixon’s 32 Point Game + The Wildcats’ Terrific Defense
Besides Eric Dixon, Villanova’s starters struggled to score for most of the game. No other Villanova starter scored more than eight points. Hakim Hart was 5-10 from the field for 10 points off the bench. Justin Moore missed his second straight game with a right knee sprain that he suffered on December 5th at Kansas State. Jordan Longino started in his place with 8 points and four rebounds.
Villanova converted 41% of their shots from the field. They made 7 of 22 (31.8%) three-point attempts. The Wildcats found more success, especially in the second half, when they took less three-point attempts. Villanova held Creighton to just 66 points, including overtime, on their home court. Their defense was phenomenal and forced 16 turnovers against the Bluejays.
Creighton came into Wednesday night’s game making about 50% of the shots they took from the field. However, the Bluejays made just 39.7% of their shots from the field against Villanova. They converted just 5 of their 24 (20.8%) three-point attempts. In addition to forcing 16 Creighton turnovers, Villanova’s defense finished the game with 10 steals, including four from Jordan Longino.
In-Depth Game Recap
Once again, the first half for Villanova was not their greatest half of basketball. They took an early 6-3 lead into the first media timeout after a two-point jump shot from Jordan Longino. Eric Dixon had four early points. However, Ryan Kalkbrenner and Creighton started to score easily in the paint. The Bluejays led 18-10 with 10:39 left in the first half.
Villanova’s defense was doing a good job at defending the perimeter and forcing some contested shots in the paint, but their offense besides Eric Dixon had difficulty scoring. The Wildcats missed their first eight three-point attempts. Luckily for Villanova, Eric Dixon continued to score and make free throws as Villanova cut the deficit to just three points with 4:42 left to play in the first.
The Bluejays responded with a 7-0 run to take a ten-point lead with the help of their loud home crowd in the CHI Health Center. Creighton led Villanova, 34-24, at halftime. Ryan Kalkbrenner had 10 points and four rebounds for Creighton. Baylor Scheierman scored 7 points and was +10 on the court. Eric Dixon finished the first half with 15 of Villanova’s 24 points. The Wildcats shot just 1 for 10 from behind the arc in the first half.
Second Half: The Resilient Wildcats
Out of halftime, the Bluejays took their largest lead of the game at 14 points with 17 minutes left to play in regulation. Scheierman, Kalkbrenner, and Trey Alexander combined for seven early points. Creighton’s lead would remain around ten points for the next seven minutes until Villanova and Hakim Hart pulled within six points.
Villanova continued to make shots on the offensive side of the court in the second half, and they played good defense against Creighton. They showed a lot of resiliency against the Bluejays and tied the game at 56 with 3:44 left in the second half. With just 2:34 left, Scheierman made a nice jump shot to give Creighton a 58-56 lead. Mark Armstrong converted a driving layup to tie the game again at 58.
Both teams had opportunities to win the game, but neither team scored in the last 2 minutes and 16 seconds of regulation. Villanova outscored Creighton, 34-24, in the second half. They also outscored the Bluejays in the paint, 22-10. At least five more minutes were needed to decide a winner.
Overtime: Eric Dixon’s Game Winning Three-Pointer
Overtime featured a similar theme as the second half. Villanova and Creighton exchanged baskets for the first four minutes with the Bluejays eventually taking a one-point lead, 66-65, with just 42 seconds left. Trey Alexander scored all eight of Creighton’s points in overtime. After Coach Neptune called timeout and won a jump ball possession situation, Eric Dixon knocked down a three-pointer from the corner to give the Wildcats a 68-66 lead with just 28 seconds left. Although Tyler Burton missed some key free throws to seal the victory, Baylor Scheierman also missed free throws in the last 15 seconds and the potential game winner at the buzzer.
The Road Ahead + Statement Win
The Wildcats accomplished a statement win and pulled off the upset in Omaha. They continue to play well against tough teams this season. Villanova has an opportunity to improve their record against struggling teams when they match up against DePaul tomorrow at 4pm EST in Chicago.
Villanova is now 8-4 overall and 1-0 in Big East Play.