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Villanova Bests Texas Tech in First Round of B4A, 85-69

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Brian Luppy/Villanovan Photography
Graduate guard Justin Moore had 18 points in the win over Texas Tech.

Villanova dominated Texas Tech, 85-69, in the opening game of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. Graduate guard Justin Moore and redshirt senior guard Eric Dixon led the ‘Cats with a combined 37 points. 

With both teams eager to make a good first impression in the Bahamas, it became evident that this would be a back and forth affair with three lead changes alone in the first three minutes.

The Red Raiders provided early fireworks with multiple three-pointers, while ‘the Cats went ice-cold in their first four attempts. After an early six-point deficit, sophomores Mark Armstrong and Brendan Hausen led Villanova back into the fray, despite neither team being able to maintain a solid lead for the first ten minutes.

Armstrong finished with eight on the day, while Hausen continued to dazzle with his sharpshooting ability.

Things also got chippy early in the first half, including a flagrant one foul against Devan Cambridge for kicking Hausen around the nine-minute mark. That sparked a 12-0 run from Villanova, capped by a Moore three-pointer to put Villanova up 28-20 with seven left to go in the first half. 

For Moore, the win represented a bounce-back game from an up-and-down performance against Maryland where he scored just eight points. Against Texas Tech, Moore outscored that margin before halftime and finished with a total of 18 points, six rebounds and five assists.

The Red Raiders did show promise, but looked undisciplined on the day, with multiple lane violations on free throws and sloppy turnovers all around. Meanwhile, Villanova looked calm, cool and collected, going perfect (15/15) from the free throw line in the first half.

After ballooning the lead to 10, Texas Tech was able to cut the deficit, hanging in it despite Villanova looking like they could run away at any second, leaving the ‘Cats up eight at halftime.

The Red Raiders came out of the half on a flurry, hitting a couple three-pointers to cut it down to four, with first-year head coach Grant McCasland’s halftime adjustments seeming promising. The early chippiness continued, with both coaches getting technical fouls early in the second half.

Even still, Villanova didn’t relinquish the lead they established in the first half, with continued good plays from Moore and Dixon. From start to finish, the game belonged to Dixon, who had his best game of the year with 19 points and six rebounds while showing off his confident stroke from beyond the arc.

For Texas Tech, they were led by guards Pop Issacs and Joe Toussiant who hit early three-pointers and finished with 16 and 15 points on the day, respectively. 

While the Red Raiders flirted with comebacks and cut the deficit to single digits, head coach Kyle Neptune and his team were able to weather the storm and defeat the Red Raiders, despite shooting just 37.5% from three-point line. 

With its win, Villanova advances to the semifinals tomorrow, Nov. 23, against No. 14 North Carolina. Tip-off is set for 2:30 p.m. 

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About the Contributor
Finn Courtney, Co-News Editor
Finn Courtney is a freshman Communications and Political Science double major and is entering his first year as one of the Co-News editors for 2024. With a passion for politics and sports, Finn's been a writer for as long as he can remember, was a four-year editor and leader on his high school paper and as a freshman has covered a variety of stories for The Villanovan, City of Basketball Love, and has been reposted in the Philadelphia Inquirer. When he's not typing up a story or filming with Villanova Television, you can surely catch him procrastinating on something, watching a Mets game (it's their year!) or trying to just live life to the fullest.
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