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Villanova Overcomes Butler 72–62

Gabi Frank
Redshirt senior forward Eric Dixon led Villanova with 22 points in the 72–62 victory over Butler at the Finn on Tuesday, Feb. 20.

Vintage Villanova basketball was played on “throwback night” on Tuesday, Feb. 20.

Villanova donned its retro home jerseys lined in yellow in the 72–62 win over Butler (16–11 overall, 7–9 Big East). The Wildcats improved to 15–11 overall and 8–7 in the Big East.

Much was at stake going into the matchup, with both teams sitting on the bubble of the NCAA tournament.

The win marks the second and final matchup between the two in conference play. Butler defeated Villanova, 88-81, in double overtime in Indianapolis on Jan. 27.

The ‘Cats are now on a three-game winning streak. Head coach Kyle Neptune has seen the progress.

“I think we are getting better in all facets of the game,” Neptune said. “Especially defensively and off the glass. I still think we can do better, but I am proud of where we are right now.”

The first half was lights out for Villanova. The team shot 50% from the three-point line and 61% from the field. Redshirt senior forward Eric Dixon led the Wildcats in scoring with 22 points.

Dixon has continued to lead the team throughout the season, scoring double-digits in the last eight games.

Dixon also heavily impacted the defensive side of the Villanova game plan.

“I thought [Dixon] was awesome,” Neptune said. “It is not just his rebounding, it is also his body. He mixes it up and clears space for other guys to get rebounds too.” 

Sophomore guard Brendan Hausen was an aid in the offensive success. 

Hausen played a mere four minutes in the Wildcats’ earlier season meeting with the Bulldogs. On Tuesday night Hausen played 18 minutes. 

Hausen connected on three of his four attempted threes. This was a key piece in his 13 points. The performance marks his fifth consecutive double-figure game.

“We have done a really good job of executing,” Hausen said. “Credit to [Coach Neptune] to find me spots on the floor [to make shots] and credit to my teammates for setting screen and finding me.”

The first half looked like a complete Wildcat team, both offensively and defensively.

The beginning of the second half was not on par with the first.

Graduate guard Justin Moore has struggled with a knee injury for a decent period of the season, returning to the floor on Jan. 13 after more than a month on the sidelines. The win over Butler marked Moore’s second back-to-back double-digit game.

Moore has remained confident as he works to return to full health.

“Confidence is always going to be there [for me],” Moore said. “I know I can get buckets. Being able to control the things I can control. I know [the game plan] is going to fall.”

Villanova and Butler would start the second half shooting a combined 1-12.

It took time, but the Wildcats rediscovered their first-half rhythm and began to put the game away.

The recovery began when Hausen scored on back-to-back offensive drives. Hausen’s baskets would get the crowd of 6,501 at the Finneran Pavilion on their feet.

Butler did not take the lead once in the second half. The Wildcats controlled the Bulldogs defensively and shut out one of their leading scorers, senior guard Posh Alexander.

Alexander recorded 12 points entering the second half of play and shot 4–4 from three in the first half. In the second half, Alexander scored only three points. His inability to score was key to Villanova’s victory.

Villanova goes on the road for their next game against No. 1 UConn on Feb. 24. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m.

The Huskies are 24–2 overall and 14–1 in the Big East. In their prior meeting this season on Jan. 20, UConn defeated Villanova, 66–65, at the Wells Fargo Center.

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  • A

    Andrew Foster VFeb 21, 2024 at 2:14 pm

    Absolutely spectacular article.

  • B

    Bill BurlandFeb 21, 2024 at 1:04 pm

    Nice job Dylan. Way to represent