In today’s matchup, the Wildcats (21-8 overall, 12-4 in Big East play) met Butler’s Bulldogs (15-13 overall, 6-9 in Big East play) at the Wells Fargo Center as Villanova played their final home game of the season. The Wildcats won the last matchup against Butler 80-72 behind a 23-point scoring night from Eric Paschall. The Wildcats are fresh off an exciting win Wednesday against No.10 Marquette and the team looked to keep the momentum going with a win over the Bulldogs.
The game started off slow for the ‘Cats with Butler getting out to a 12-5 lead. The Cats missed six of their first seven shots and were down by as many as nine points. Neither team hit a three-point shot until Paschall hit a three from the corner to energize the Wildcats. Villanova saw some shooting woes in their past four games and it looked like the trend would continue as Phil Booth and Collin Gillespie got out to a slow start. Booth came alive with a three-point shot assisted by Paschall to pull the team within six with 7:46 to play in the first half. Booth scored seven points in a row and Gillespie hit a couple of key threes to help the Wildcats to a 33-30 lead going into halftime.
The Wildcats came out strong in the second half, going on a 13-4 run to jump out to a 46-34 lead at the first break of the half. Butler went quiet in the 2nd with a strong defensive effort by the Wildcats to keep the Bulldogs to 29% shooting in the half. A 12-0 scoring run with a Booth three and an explosive dunk from Paschall put the Wildcats on top by 17. The Bulldogs tried to stage a comeback with a 7-0 scoring run of their own to cut the lead down to ten. Just when Butler trimmed the lead to single digits, another dunk by Paschall swung the momentum back to the Cats.
Booth finished with 28 points as the Wildcats finished off Butler 75-54 to win their 2nd straight game. The Wildcats move to 22-8 on the season and 13-4 in Big East play. Villanova will finish their regular season next Saturday at Seton Hall.