Wildcats Advance to 4-1 Off of 68-64 Win Over Longhorns


Courtesy of Michael Thomas, Associated Press

Collin Gillespie makes a move on Texas guard Matt Coleman (left) and forward Jericho Sims (back). 

Noah Swan, Staff Writer

Coming off a strong performance against Hartford, Villanova traveled to Austin to face 4-0 Texas for their first away game of the season and came away with a 68-64 victory. Texas returned home after winning the Maui Invitational Tournament, including a buzzer-beating effort against North Carolina. Jay Wright stuck with the same starting lineup from the previous games, despite a finger injury for Jermaine Samuels. Texas boasts a strong returning lineup this season with the athleticism and strength to challenge any opponent.


In a tightly contested game, Villanova improved to 4-1 on the season. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Justin Moore poured in 19 points each, with senior guard Collin Gillespie adding 12 points including four clutch free throws to seal the victory. Samuels secured 12 rebounds and scored eight points against a tough Texas frontcourt.


Moore started hot with seven points in the opening five minutes as the ‘Cats jumped to a 14-7 lead through the first six minutes. Texas guard Matt Coleman III and Courtney Ramey kept the Longhorns in the game, each adding 17 points in their losing effort. Gillespie picked up three fouls during the first half and spent some time on the bench when Villanova’s offense failed to generate many clean looks. Texas extended a seven-point lead before the ‘Cats fought back to a 32-30 lead at halftime. 


Villanova maintained their lead for the rest of the game, but Texas hung in the game throughout the second half. Both teams shot under 32% from the three during the game as each grappled for control of the momentum. The Wildcats only shot 6-19 (31.6%) from deep, while Texas went 7-22 (31.8%). Ramey hit a big three with 2:37 left to tie the game at 57, but Cole Swider responded with a three of his own before Robinson-Earl converted a Gillespie steal into a dunk on the opposite end. The senior guard closed out the game from the free-throw line, claiming Villanova’s best win of the season.


After the game, Jay Wright praised his team’s mental toughness throughout the game and the defensive effort against Texas’ athletic forwards. Wright admitted “trying to figure out” the most effective lineups for the Wildcats. He gave credit to Swider and Brandon Slater for their contributions off the bench, and he was in awe of Samuel’s “courageous” performance with a sprained finger. Robinson-Earl and Samuels emphasized the team’s effort on the boards and the defensive side of the ball.


Villanova is back in action when they travel to Georgetown this Friday, Dec. 11, for their first Big East matchup of the season.