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Villanova’s defense struggles as Kam Jones and Tyler Kolek lead #17 Marquette past Villanova | Villanova vs. Marquette Recap

Written by on January 16, 2024

Kam Jones and Tyler Kolek lead #17 Marquette past Villanova, 87-74. Despite Mark Armstrong’s season-high 24 points, the Wildcats’ defense struggles and only forces three turnovers. The Golden Eagles converted 58.7% of their shots from the field and outrebounded Villanova, 29-27.

Final Game Stats

Kam Jones finished with 22 points on 10-12 shooting from the field. He grabbed six rebounds and totaled four assists. Tyler Kolek shot 7-14 from the field with a double double. Kolek finished the game with 21 points, 11 assists, and two steals. Oso Ighodaro converted 9-11 shots from the field for 18 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and three steals. The Golden Eagles’ defense forced 12 turnovers against the Wildcats. They limited Villanova to just 34 points in the second half. Marquette dominated the battle in the paint, 60-18. It’s extremely hard to win a game with that large of a disadvantage in the paint.

In addition to Armstrong’s 24 points, Eric Dixon and Brendan Hausen were the other two scorers in double-digits for Villanova. Dixon finished with 15 points and five rebounds. Hausen made three three-pointers and totaled 11 points. In his second game back returning from the right knee sprain, Justin Moore scored eight points in 29 minutes, but he was a -19 when on the court. Villanova shot 47.2% from the field and 42.4% from behind the arc, but the turnover differential and paint struggles were too much for the Wildcats to overcome.

Game Recap

First Half

At the first media timeout, Villanova led 13-12 with 15:13 left to play. Tyler Burton, Eric Dixon, and Justin Moore each started the game with an early three. Kam Jones and Tyler Kolek also made some early shots for the Golden Eagles, but Villanova did a nice job at responding to Marquette.

With 7:44 left to play, Mark Armstrong knocked down a three-pointer for Villanova to give the Wildcats a 30-27 lead. However, Marquette ended the first half with a nice run of their own to take a 43-40 lead into halftime. Villanova lost the paint battle in the first half, 34-8; however, they limited offensive turnovers to just four and rebounded the ball decently against the Golden Eagles. The Wildcats had a much better shooting half than the Golden Eagles by knocking down 48.3% of their shots from the field and 50% of their shots from behind the arc.

Halftime Stats

At the half, Mark Armstrong was Villanova’s leading scorer with nine points (three three-pointers) and two assists. Justin Moore was a -7 when on the court, but he scored eight points and made two early three-pointers. Marquette’s Oso Ighodaro led all scorers with 12 points, five rebounds, and two assists. Kam Jones shot 5-7 from the field for 11 points. However, the Golden Eagles shot just 3 of 12 (25%) from behind the arc.

Second Half: Wildcats’ defense continues to struggle

Despite good shooting from the Wildcats, Villanova could not keep up with Marquette in the second half. David Joplin crushed a three to extend the Golden Eagles’ lead to ten points with 17:50 left to play. The Wildcats’ defense, especially in the paint and near the glass, tremendously struggled in the second half. Eric Dixon made some free throws to cut the deficit to six points with about 14 minutes left to play, but the Wildcats had difficulty really cutting the Marquette lead for a long period of time.

Brendan Hausen and Eric Dixon knocked down threes to tie the game at 57, but once again, Tyler Kolek and Oso Ighodaro scored easily in the paint to answer Villanova. The Wildcats trailed by 16 points with less than 30 seconds left to play. Armstrong hit a last second three to end the game with a final score of 87-74 in favor of Marquette.

Player of the Game

Villanova was outscored 44-34 in the second half. The player of the game for Villanova was definitely Mark Armstrong. Armstrong continues to show signs of progress offensively, specifically from behind the arc. He scored 24 points while shooting 8-15 from the field and 5-9 from three. The overall player of the game was Kam Jones. Jones scored 22 points and was a +19 on the court. The Golden Eagles’ trio of Kam Jones, Tyler Kolek, and Oso Ighodaro all performed well against Villanova, especially in the paint. A win on the road against Marquette was never going to be easy, but Villanova has really struggled inside the paint in conference play. The Wildcats must improve their defense to seriously compete in the Big East.

#1 UConn comes to South Philly on Saturday | WXVU Coverage

Unfortunately for Villanova, their schedule does not get any easier. The 11-6 Wildcats fall to 4-2 in conference play with a Saturday night matchup at 8pm against #1 UConn next. The energy should be amazing at the Wells Fargo Center, and the Wildcats will need it to upset the Huskies. WXVU will have live coverage of Villanova vs. UConn beginning at 7:30pm with the pregame show. Tipoff from South Philly is scheduled for 8pm on Saturday.