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New Transfers Stand Out in Blue & White Scrimmage

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Ryan Sarbello/Villanovan Photography
The annual Blue & White Scrimmage took place on Thursday, Oct. 5.

The Finneran Pavilion came back to life at the Blue & White Scrimmage on Thursday night, as the men’s basketball team gave ‘Nova Nation its first taste of what the 2023–24 roster has in store.

“This was a great test for our guys,” head coach Kyle Neptune said. “Going out and playing in front of a crowd is very different from practice.”

The scrimmage consisted of four ten-minute competitions between the blue team and the white team. Though the white team claimed all four wins, each game was different as players switched teams in between each quarter of the scrimmage.

Players entered the first game confident to shoot for three. The white team dominated, with sophomore guard Brendan Hausen hitting two shots from behind the arc in the opening minutes. Graduate forward and Richmond transfer Tyler Burton scored seven points for a 17–8 victory.

The ensuing games featured more high-intensity play between members of the Wildcat roster. In the second contest, redshirt senior forward Eric Dixon scored four points and led the White team to a 12–10 comeback from an 8–0 deficit.

Both ends of the divided Wildcats began tallying more points as the scrimmage continued, with game three ending 19–10 and game four 12–8.

The showcase gave Neptune and the coaching staff an opportunity to assess the team’s performance as a unit in both offense and defense.

“I think our team in general has a lot of great options offensively,” said Neptune. “We’re really trying to lock in the defensive end and rebounding, and if we can do that, we can get out in transition and get some easy baskets.”

The star of this season’s roster, graduate guard Justin Moore, was sidelined due to injury, but is listed as day-to-day. Senior forward and Kentucky transfer Lance Ware and freshman forward Jordann Dumont were also unable to make their Villanova debuts at the scrimmage, similarly being listed as day-to-day. Junior forward Trey Patterson was unable to participate due to offseason surgery. His status for the beginning of the regular season is still unclear.

The scrimmage allowed Villanova fans to see some of the new faces on the team in action. 

Two new transfers — senior guard and Washington State transfer TJ Bamba along with Burton — were the leading scorers of the day. Bamba tallied 18 points across the four games, while Burton totaled 16 points with seven rebounds.

Neptune is enthusiastic about the transfers as valuable assets to the team for the upcoming season.

“[Bamba] is an unbelievable finisher and has great size and versatility defensively, so he’s a guy who adds a lot to our team,” said Neptune. “For our new guys, we’re really proud of where they are now and I think they’re only going to get better.”

Although Neptune and the coaching staff saw room for improvement before the regular season begins, the Blue & White Scrimmage set the tone for a thrilling new Villanova basketball campaign.

The build-up to the start of the season will continue with Hoops Mania, set to take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21 at the Finneran Pavilion.

The Wildcats will return to the Finn on Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. for the opening game of the season against American University.

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About the Contributor
Katie Lewis, Co-Sports Editor
Katie Lewis is a sophomore from Miami, FL in her first year as Co-Sports Editor in 2024. From covering games to writing features and profiles, she loves to find the story behind Villanova sports. Pursuing her enthusiasm for writing and journalism in her studies at Villanova, Katie is double-majoring in English and Communication while concentrating in Writing and Rhetoric. When Katie isn’t at Holy Grounds working on her next article, she enjoys playing tennis with Villanova’s club team.
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