Villanova vs. Butler Recap | Strong Second Half leads to Third Straight Win for Wildcats
Written by David Szczepanski on February 16, 2023
The Wildcats defeated the Butler Bulldogs in the final game of the season at the Finn on Tuesday night, 62-50. Justin Moore scored 15 points for Nova and made three three pointers. Caleb Daniels, who was the only other Villanova starter in double digits, accumulated 13 points over 35 minutes. Butler’s duo of Jayden Taylor and Manny Bates combined for 32 of Butler’s 50 points.
Like the past few games, Villanova had a tough time scoring early in the first half. The Wildcats had trouble finding open looks and shot just 2-10 from the field in the first seven minutes. However, after scoring only one point in Saturday’s win over Seton Hall, Guard Justin Moore hit back-to-back three pointers to give Villanova the 11-10 lead midway through the first half. Throughout the rest of the first half, the game would swing back and forth, but Freshman Mark Armstrong did a nice job using his speed to get to the basket for two layups. Butler actually took a 24-23 lead with about 12 seconds left in the first half after a Jayden Taylor three. After a wonderfully executed layup by Caleb Daniels out of the Nova timeout, the Wildcats took a slight 25-24 lead into halftime.
To start the second half, Forward Cam Whitmore was on fire. At one end of the court, Whitmore slammed it down, and at the other end, he made a huge block on an attempted dunk by Butler’s Manny Bates. The Wildcats went on a crucial 7-0 run with about 15 minutes left in the game, which was led by Daniels, Whitmore, and Eric Dixon. As the offense continued to click and find open shots, the Finn was rocking on Valentine’s Day. With about four minutes left in the game, Nova’s offense built their biggest lead of the night at the time of eight points. Butler’s offense had no answers for Villanova’s defense. To put the cherry on top, Brandon Slater made possibly one of the best dunks in college basketball all season with 47 seconds left in the game. If you have not seen it, I totally recommend checking it out immediately.
Standings + The Road Ahead for Villanova
Overall, key defense down the stretch and good clutch shooting in the second half lead to a fairly easy win for Villanova over Butler. Villanova has now won their last three games and are 13-13 overall on the season. Also, the Wildcats are 7-8 in Big East play and ranked 66th in the country according to Kenpom.com. Butler is now 5-11 in Big East play on the season.
As the Wildcats are playing their best basketball of the season while fully healthy, they will battle #24 Providence on Saturday, February 18th at 4:30pm in Rhode Island.