Cam Whitmore Makes Debut in Villanova’s 70-66 Win Over Oklahoma


Olivia Pasquale/Villanovan Photography

Cam Whitmore made his collegiate debut in Saturday’s win.

Owen Hewitt, Co-Sports Editor

Villanova outlasted Oklahoma in a tight Big East-Big 12 Battle game at Wells Fargo Center Saturday afternoon, 70-66. The win improves the ‘Cats to 3-5 in non-conference play. 

Freshman guard Cam Whitmore made his long-anticipated debut for the Wildcats, putting up seven points and three rebounds in 20 minutes. 

“I’ve been itching to go since the day I got hurt,” Whitmore said.

‘Cats fans were excited to see Whitmore on the floor after a lengthy rehab period, as was evidenced by the roar that arose from the Wells Fargo Center when Whitmore checked in.

“That was love from ‘Nova Nation,” Whitmore said. “Since the beginning they’ve been building me up, helping me.”

Graduate guard Caleb Daniels led the ‘Cats in scoring with 22 on eight-of-ten shooting, including a pivotal three-pointer to give the ‘Cats a four-point lead with under a minute to go.

Freshman guard Mark Armstrong got the first start of his career, as Villanova head coach Kyle Neptune switched him with sophomore guard Jordan Longino in the starting five. Armstrong responded by putting up 10 points, a new career-high. Redshirt junior Eric Dixon also got into double figures, with 12 points on the afternoon.

The ‘Cats got off to a slow start offensively, with the Sooners building a double-digit lead by the 13:18 mark. 

“We’ve been down in what seems like every game,” Neptune said postgame. “Our guys just keep battling and battling and battling. And this time, we got over the hurdle.”

Whitmore provided a spark off the bench to get the Wildcats’ offense moving, providing seven points in 12 first-half minutes. 

“Honestly I’m shocked.” Neptune said when asked what he thought of Whitmore’s debut. “He literally has not played basketball except for like four, five days, for seven weeks. Normal human beings, they would have been completely discombobulated.”

The ‘Cats weren’t able to claim a lead in the first half, but they were able to keep things close, going on a 10-0 run to reel the Sooners’ lead back in.

A Daniels post-up bucket sent the game to the half with the Sooners leading 32-30. Daniels and Whitmore both had seven points in the first half, with Dixon scoring six and Armstrong scoring five. 

The game remained tight through the second period, with neither team able to build a lead larger than two possessions through the first ten minutes of the half. Daniels was able to hit his stride offensively, knocking down two threes and tallying eight points in the first ten minutes of the half. 

It remained close through the latter part of the second half, with the largest lead for either team being the Sooners by six. The game stood 64-62 with Villanova in front heading into the last minute-and-a-half. 

Daniels hit a three in the closing minute to boost a one-point game to four-point game. The ball whipped around the perimeter to Daniels, who pulled a quick three that went down. 

“I was just thinking about the shot clock,” Daniels said when asked about the play. “We had a lot of time being used up on the ball reversal. It’s what we preach every day, reverse the ball and make a play.”

The Wildcats see their next action at the Finneran Pavilion on Wednesday, Dec. 7, as they take on the Penn Quakers in a Big 5 matchup. Tip is scheduled for 7 P.M..