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Butler Bests Villanova in Double Overtime, 88-81

Graydon Paul/Villanovan Photography
Graduate guard Justin Moore finished with five points on 2-of-12 shooting.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Entering Saturday’s game at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse against Butler (14-7, 5-5 Big East), Villanova was 8-0 in games where it held a halftime lead. 

The Wildcats are now 8-1 in such games.

A nine point lead at the break was not enough for the ‘Cats to fend off the Bulldogs, as Butler senior guard DJ Davis scored 28 to secure a double overtime win, 88-81.

The loss drops Villanova to 11-9 overall and 4-5 in Big East play. It is the fourth straight loss for the ‘Cats, who are 2-5 in the month of January.

Butler did not lead the game in regulation, as it could only draw level with the ‘Cats at 64 with five seconds remaining. The Bulldogs found their first lead of the afternoon with 4:08 remaining in the first overtime period.

Redshirt senior forward Eric Dixon led the ‘Cats with 28 points, six rebounds and five assists. Senior guard TJ Bamba added 14, while graduate forward Tyler Burton posted a double-double performance with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Butler senior forward Jahmyl Telfort also posted a double-double, with 22 points and 11 rebounds.

Villanova is 2-2 in four overtime games this season. It is the most overtime games in a season for the ‘Cats since the 2013-14 campaign. 

The ‘Cats opened the game with an 11-0 run. Butler missed its first 10 shot attempts, and would not find its first basket of the game until there was 13:07 to play in the first half. By that time, Dixon had already scored nine. 

Villanova also out-rebounded Butler 11-1 over the first five minutes. Butler would finish with a 43-33 rebounding advantage. It held a 9-0 advantage in offensive rebounds in the second half.

Villanova went into the halftime break with the lead, 36-27. Davis was yet to score.

Davis scored all 28 of his points in the second half and overtime periods. 

After shooting 2-of-9 from three in the first half, Butler shot 7-18 from deep in the second. The Bulldogs made seven of their last eight shots at the end of regulation, including the game-tying dunk from Telfort. Five of the last seven made shots for the Bulldogs were threes.

Graduate guard Justin Moore was able to put up a heave at the end of regulation, but the shot rimmed out. Moore finished the game with five points on 2-of-12 shooting, including 0-of-5 from beyond the arc.

With the Bulldogs down two in the first overtime and the clock under 30 seconds, Davis was able to find a basket on a drive to the rim with five seconds to play. The shot looked eerily similar to the one that had tied the game in regulation. After another missed heave from Moore, the game would go into its second overtime with the score knotted at 72.

“They made a good play,” Villanova head coach Kyle Neptune said. “They’ve got really good players over there and they made a good play.”

Villanova held a four point lead with 2:46 to play in the second overtime. Butler was able to claim the lead with 45 seconds to play, 80-78. On the next possession, Dixon turned the ball over, stepping out of bounds on the baseline after grabbing the rebound from his own miss.

From there, Villanova was forced to foul. Butler was perfect from the free throw line in the second overtime to secure the victory.

Villanova will see its next action at the Finneran Pavilion against No. 14 Marquette (15-5, 6-3 Big East). Tipoff is scheduled for 7 P.M., and the game will be televised on Fox Sports 1. 

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Owen Hewitt
Owen Hewitt, Co-Sports Editor
Owen Hewitt is one of two Co-Sports Editors in 2024. Entering his second year in this position, he is a Communications major specializing in journalism. Owen is a Memphis native and a die-hard Grizzlies fan, although his main loyalty lies with Memphis 901 FC. When not writing about basketball or soccer, Owen can often be found on stage, performing as part of Villanova's improv team Ridiculum. Owen has many goals in life, including going into sports journalism as a profession, but his main goal — always — is to stay jitty with it.
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