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Villanova Exorcizes Blue Demons, 84-48

Brian Luppy/Villanovan Photography
Graduate guard Hakim Hart led all scorers in the Wildcat victory with 20.

Most teams prefer to play on their home court with a home crowd behind them, but following Villanova’s 84-48 win against DePaul, games played away from Pennsylvania continue to result in Wildcat victories.

Graduate guard Hakim Hart finished with a game-high 20 points on 4-4 shooting from beyond the arc. Redshirt senior forward Eric Dixon contributed 12 points and senior guard TJ Bamba had 11. The win moves the ‘Cats to 9-4 overall and 2-0 in Big East play.

Saturday’s game was the Wildcats’ first time back in Chicago since last year’s loss to DePaul, their first loss to DePaul since 2008. However, the Wildcats are a different team than they were at this point last season. 

The game got off to a slow start as neither team was able to establish an early lead. 

Following a 32-point performance in the overtime win vs Creighton, Dixon got off to a rough start in the opening minutes against DePaul. Dixon committed a foul in the first minute that led to the opening basket from the Blue Demons. 

With graduate guard Justin Moore missing his third game with a knee injury, it was vital that Dixon did not commit a second foul until the Wildcats established a comfortable lead.

With Dixon needing to play cautiously, graduate forward Hakim Hart led the offense. The hustle from Hart inside the paint and outside the arc led to an 8-0 Villanova run. With 12 minutes left in the half, Hart had 10 of Villanova’s 16 points. 

Despite being limited defensively, Dixon was still strong on offense and had 10 points at halftime. 

Junior guard Jordan Longino has started in place of the injured Moore and has taken full advantage of the opportunity. 

Longino scored eight points and went 3-4 from the field against the Blue Demons. 

With seven minutes left in the half, Longino knocked down a three that proved to be the game changing shot. Longino’s three gave the Wildcats a 13-point lead that only grew larger. 

At the end of the first half, the Wildcats led, 46-28. Hart led all scorers with 12.

Coming out of halftime, the Wildcats built off their first half momentum.

After forcing a turnover, the Wildcats opened the second half with a three from Bamba and a hook shot in the post from Dixon.

The Wildcats’ efforts on offense and defense saw them take a 24-point lead.

Hart continued to score. His 20-point performance Saturday was his best as a Wildcat.

More than 36 points were scored off the Wildcat bench, which saw the 24-point lead grow to a 40-point lead. 

Although the next Villanova game is not until Jan. 3, the 40-point lead gave players such as Dixon, Longino and Bamba much needed rest and allowed players such as senior forward Lance Ware and sophomore guard Brendan Hausen to get extended minutes off the bench. 

The blowout win also saw junior guard Colin O’Toole make his season debut. He grabbed a rebound, playing the final minutes of the blowout win.

Following their two wins in the Midwest, the Wildcats will return to the Main Line for a Jan. 3 matchup with Xavier, followed by a matchup with St. John’s three days later.

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