Wildcats Continue to Struggle, Fall to Portland, 83-71


The Wildcats lost their third straight game on Friday.

Brooke Ackerman, Staff Writer

After a defeat to Iowa State on Thanksgiving that put Villanova under .500 for the first time in a decade, the Wildcats took on Portland Friday afternoon in the consolation bracket of the Phil Knight Invitational. 

The Wildcats lost to the Pilots, 83-71, falling for the second consecutive day and dropping to a 2-4 record. 

Similar to his standout performance against Iowa State the previous day, graduate guard Caleb Daniels led the Wildcats, putting up 18 and grabbing seven rebounds. Redshirt junior Eric Dixon also helped under the basket, netting 10 points and seven rebounds. 

Although coming off a loss the day prior, Portland had put up a tough fight against the No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels, losing by only eight points, and came into their game against the Wildcats ready for action. 

The first half was a matter of trading baskets, as no team led by more than eight points. It wasn’t until the final two minutes of play that the Pilots started to run away with a slight lead, ending the half up 35-27 over the Wildcats. 

But, come the start of the second half, the Pilots began to take control, dominating the flow of the game. Portland went on an 8-0 run to start the period, and continued to increase their lead to 18 points, going up, 58-40, with 11 minutes of play to go. 

Refusing to go away, Villanova attempted to crawl its way back into the game, closing the Portland lead to just five points. 

However, with just over four minutes of play remaining, Daniels picked up his fifth foul of the game, leaving the Wildcats with little of an offensive threat. 

As play proceeded on, the two teams continued to trade baskets for the latter half of the game, yet Villanova was unable to cut into the Pilot lead, and eventually dropped its second game of the PK Invitational. 

The Wildcats will continue play on Sunday, November 27 in what will be their final game of the tournament. They are set to take on the loser of the Michigan State and Oregon game which will be played at 12:00 a.m. on ESPN2.