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Wildcats Fall to Drexel, 57–55, in Big 5 Classic

Ryan Sarbello/Villanovan Photography
With a loss to Drexel in the Big 5 Classic, Villanova is now 0-3 in the Big 5 this season.

After losses to Penn and St. Joseph’s, the Wildcats finished their disappointing slide through Big 5 play with a loss to Big 5 newcomer Drexel, 57-55. 

The defeat lands Villanova in sixth place out of six teams in the inaugural Big 5 Classic.

The Wildcats trailed the Dragons on the scoreboard throughout the duration of the game, unable to find the spark they needed to get the offense going. 

The ‘Cats shot just 33 percent from the field and 19 percent from three on the day. Redshirt senior forward Eric Dixon led the Villanova offense, tallying 21 points. 

The Wildcats came out flat to start the contest, failing to find the basket for three minutes until Dixon made a layup assisted by graduate guard Justin Moore to put the ‘Cats on the board.

Four minutes into the game, the Wildcats were shooting just 1–7 from the field.

For Drexel, however, the shots began to fall.

“Drexel made some really tough shots early and some timely shots late,” head coach Kyle Neptune said. “They really executed their stuff down the stretch. A lot of credit goes to them.”

Past the ten-minute mark, the ‘Cats continued to fight against the Dragons’ tight man-to-man defense but were still unable to catch the close Drexel lead.

A three-minute Villanova scoring drought snapped when Dixon sunk a three-pointer to make the score 14–12 with just over eight minutes remaining in the half.

However, sharper shooting from the Dragons left Villanova unable to break into their lead. By the last four minutes of the first half, Drexel had increased its advantage to 22–16.

The Wildcats headed into halftime down just one point. 

Junior guard Jordan Longino landed Villanova’s only three-pointer of the second half with just under five minutes to go. The Wildcats would shoot only 5–27 from behind the arc on the day.

As time ran short, the ‘Cats began making buckets, yet could not keep the Dragons at bay.

A Longino two-point jumper pushed Drexel’s lead to a razor margin, 56-55, as the final minute of the game approached.

However, an ensuing foul on Longino while blocking a layup allowed the Dragons to add another point from a free throw.

Neptune called a critical timeout as the Wildcats scrambled to find a good look with 6.7 seconds remaining. The Dragons swatted away a jumper from Moore in the paint, stifling any chance to tie the game.

“Every [Big 5] game is always intense, tough, nasty, and throws off the records,” Neptune said. “Whoever you play in one of those games, you know they’re bringing it. This year was no different.”

Looking ahead, the ‘Cats hope to get back to form on Tuesday, Dec. 5 with a non-conference road game at Kansas State. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

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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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