Villanova Goes Cold In Clutch Against No. 14 Marquette


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Caleb Daniels finished with 14 points in 37 minutes.

Owen Hewitt, Co-Sports Editor

Villanova struggled to find offense down the stretch on Wednesday night in Milwaukee, as No. 14 Marquette went on a 16-3 run over the last six minutes to seal the game, 73-64. The loss drops the ‘Cats to 10-12 overall and 4-7 in Big East play.  

The Wildcats led for the entire first half despite early foul trouble for junior forward Eric Dixon, freshman forward Cam Whitmore and graduate forward Brandon Slater. The Wildcats kept the action close through the second half, holding a lead as late as the 4:32 mark.  

“In a one or two possession game, a rebound can be the difference,” Villanova head coach Kyle Neptune said. “We look at the entire game. They’re a really good team. They just made more plays than us.” 

The ‘Cats didn’t just go cold down the stretch, they went frigid. Villanova shot 1-7 from the field including 0-3 from three and turned the ball over twice. The lack of offense in the final five minutes wasn’t attributed to one player’s shot being off – six different Villanova players missed shots from the field and from the line in the final six minutes.  

“They were nasty,” Neptune said of the Golden Eagles’ late-game intensity. “They were tough, got into passing lanes and got deflections that disrupted what we were trying to do.” 

The Wildcats were able to hold their own against the Golden Eagles in the first half, even with the three aforementioned starters for the ‘Cats only playing 65 combined minutes for the game.  

Freshman guard Brendan Hausen pitched in 12 points from the bench, while Dixon and graduate guard Caleb Daniels both had 14, highs for the Villanova side of the stat sheet. Marquette junior guard Tyler Kolek finished the game with 20, and sophomore guard Kam Jones finished with 18. 

With the loss, the ‘Cats remain winless in Quad 1 games. Villanova faces a Quad 1 opponent in six of their final nine matchups, with its toughest test coming against UConn at Wells Fargo Center to close out the season. The Huskies currently rank 8th in the NET rankings.  

Villanova’s next challenge comes against Creighton. The Bluejays are coming off a 10-point victory against Georgetown in Washington D.C. The ‘Cats will travel to Omaha for a 7:30 P.M. tip-off on Saturday. The game will be televised on Fox.