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No. 22 Villanova Drubs Le Moyne, 83-57

Courtesy of Villanova Athletics
Justin Moore led all scorers with 21 points.

Building upon early season momentum after Monday’s opening rout of American, No. 22 Villanova improved its record to 2–0 with a second home victory over Le Moyne on Friday night.

The Wildcats emerged with a 26-point victory, beating the Dolphins, 83–57. The Dolphins, competing in just their second game at the Division I level, fell to 0-2.

Head coach Kyle Neptune kept the same starting five as the Wildcats’ season opener, which featured two new transfers, senior guard TJ Bamba and graduate forward Tyler Burton.

The game was another early-season opportunity for the new players to settle into the Villanova system.

“We have a lot of experience on this team, but we have a lot of guys that are playing together for the first time,” Neptune said. “Every minute that we’re out there, we get a chance to play with each other and build trust amongst the team.”

The teams battled early in the game, with the Wildcats allowing the Dolphins to hit a pair of three-pointers in the opening three minutes.

The ‘Cats also had a rocky start offensively, shooting just 37% from the field and 28% from behind the arc in the first 12 minutes.

The Dolphins pulled ahead 16–15, putting pressure on the Wildcats to take control of the game.

“Anytime you have a team of five guys that can legitimately drill threes, it’s scary,” Neptune said. “I think our guys did a good job of weathering some storms.”

A series of contributions from across the Villanova roster, culminating in a three-pointer from Bamba, put the Wildcats back on top 25–23 with just under eight minutes to go in the first half.

The Wildcats then found their rhythm. They went on a 13–0 run to lead the Dolphins by more than ten points with just over five minutes remaining in the first half.

Graduate guard Justin Moore and Bamba spearheaded the offensive recovery. Moore led scorers in the first with 16 points, with Bamba adding eight points and three assists.

“My main focus is to play harder than any opponent. We’re trying to prove to ourselves that we’re the toughest group in the country,” Bamba said. “We’ve been doing it all preseason.”

The Wildcats finished the first 20 minutes with a considerable 48–34 lead, quieting concerns after the team’s slow start.

Early in the second half, the Villanova defense held Le Moyne scoreless for a stretch of nearly three minutes after the Dolphins opened the half with a three. The ‘Cats held the Dolphins to 23 points in the second half.

The Wildcats dominated the last five minutes, adding 13 points while permitting the Dolphins to score just three free throws.

The victory allowed a range of Villanova players to put their shooting abilities on display.

Sophomore guard Brendan Hausen proved himself as one of the Wildcats’ most skilled shooters from beyond the arc, converting four out of five threes in the second half. He would finish with a career-high 18 points, shooting 6-8 from three-point range for the game. 

Four different Wildcats — Moore, Bamba, Burton and Hausen — reached double-digits points by the end of the night.

However, Neptune’s direction will be focused on honing Villanova’s defense while the team continues to build chemistry among the new faces.

“Our mindset has been, and will continue to be, that we need to keep getting stops,” Neptune said.

The Wildcats’ next game will be an away matchup on Monday, Nov. 13 against Penn. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. It will be the first Big 5 game of the season for the ‘Cats.

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Katie Lewis
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 with concentrations in Journalism and Writing & 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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