Jay Wright Tallies 600th Career Win at Home Versus Butler


Courtesy of Nova MBB Instagram

Cole Swider goes for a dunk against the Bulldogs.

Billy Vinci, Co-Sports Editor

Villanova defeated Butler 85-66 on a snowy Wednesday night at the Finneran Pavilion, the home opener for the Wildcats in the 2020-21 season. The win improved the seventh ranked Wildcats record to 6-1 on the season and 2-0 in the Big East. 

The win was extra special for head coach Jay Wright, as the victory was number 600 for Jay Wright as a Division I head coach. This win was the 478th for Wright at Villanova, where he’s been head coach since 2001. The first 122 victories for Wright were earned at Hofstra in his seven seasons as head coach there, from 1994-2001.  

Sophomore big man Jeremiah Robinson-Earl led the way for the Wildcats against Butler, accumulating 18 points on 8-12 shooting, including 2-3 from three point range. Robinson-Earl also contributed five rebounds and four assists. Senior guard Collin Gillespie also added 18 points for Villanova, shooting 5-9 overall and 2-4 from deep, while also dishing out five assists. 

The Wildcats started out a bit slow, trailing 17-10 after five minutes and a hot start by Butler guard Jair Bolden. Villanova was able to battle back by the end of the first half, going into the break with a 41-34 lead after Butler senior guard Aaron Thompson made a tough layup as time expired to cut the Villanova lead to just seven. 

The game got as close as 41-38 a few minutes into the second half, but the Wildcats extended their lead and never looked back. 

Sophomore Justin Moore and senior Jermaine Samuels were the other two Wildcats who finished in double digits in the scoring column. Moore added 13 points on 5-11 shooting while also grabbing five rebounds, while Samuels scored 12 points, half of which came on 6-7 shooting from the free throw line in addition to grabbing six rebounds. 

For the Bulldogs, Bolden’s hot start led to 18 points on 4-7 shooting from three point range to lead Butler, in addition to grabbing five rebounds. Thompson got hot in the second half to finish with 14 points and six assists, but exited the game early due to an apparent knee injury. 

As a team, both the Wildcats and the Bulldogs shot over 40% from behind the three point line. Villanova ended up going 10-23 (43.5%) from three point range, while Butler went 7-15 (46.7%). The Wildcats were also able to force 15 Butler turnovers which played a big part in the victory. 

The Wildcats were scheduled to play Virginia Saturday, but that game was officially cancelled today due to COVID-19 issues in the Virginia program. The Wildcats are attempting to find another game for Saturday, but at the moment the next scheduled game is next Wednesday, Dec. 23 at Marquette. Tip-off is set for 7 P.M.