Dixon Scores 31, Villanova Beats No. 19 Creighton, 79-67


Graydon Paul/Villanovan Photography

Redshirt junior Eric Dixon finished Saturday’s game with 31 points, a career high.

Owen Hewitt, Co-Sports Editor

If there was something special about the way redshirt forward Eric Dixon played today, he would never say so. 

“I don’t think I really thought about it too much,” Dixon said. “I think my teammates just kept finding me in spots where I’m comfortable.” 

On the other hand, Creighton head coach Greg McDermott wasn’t shy in saying exactly how much of an impact Dixon had on the ballgame. 

“We’ve got one of the elite defensive players in the country at the rim,” McDermott said of his center, 7-foot-1 Ryan Kalkbrenner. “Villanova was able to turn our defense inside out with Dixon’s ability to stretch the floor.” 

Dixon finished with 31 on red-hot 11-15 shooting, including 6-8 shooting from downtown, as Villanova beat No. 19 Creighton, 79-67. Freshman forward Cam Whitmore finished with 17 and five rebounds, and freshman guard Mark Armstong finished with 11 and five rebounds. 

The win, which improves the ‘Cats to 15-14 overall and 9-9 in Big East play, is Villanova’s second ranked win in a row. The ‘Cats are now 2-4 against ranked teams this season, a good sign ahead of the Big East Tournament in New York City in two weeks. 

“Nobody wants to see that team in the Garden,” McDermott said.  

The game started fast, with both teams having 10 points by the first media timeout with 15:01 remaining in the first. Dixon hit two three pointers and a layup to accumulate eight of the ‘Cats 10 in the first five minutes. 

Moore hit a three to cap off a 12-2 run that gave the ‘Cats an eight-point lead with 10:50 to go in the first half. The ‘Cats never looked back after that run, as they led for 36:49 of the 40-minute contest. 

Dixon continued his hot shooting with another three to extend the ‘Cats’ lead to double digits with 8:16 before halftime. He started the game 4-for-4 from downtown. 

The game slowed down over the final five of the first half. The ‘Cats went the final 5:06 without a made field goal, but the Bluejays only made two field goals during that same stretch. The ‘Cats would take a 14-point lead into the half, 38-24. Dixon finished the half with a game-leading 18, shooting 4-5 from downtown. 

The second half was a similar story. The ‘Cats lead never got smaller than seven points, as Whitmore and Dixon kept scoring. The two combined for 23 in the second half, helping the ‘Cats comfortably push past the Bluejays.  

“I just thought our guys played hard,” head coach Kyle Neptune said. “I thought our guys just came out and played extremely hard from the very beginning. They had a little run to start the (second) half, but other than that, I thought defensively we were unbelievable.” 

The ‘Cats will travel to Seton Hall Tuesday to take on the Pirates at the Prudential Center. Tip for the game is scheduled for 8:30 P.M. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1.