Frigid Weather Proves no Obstacle as ‘Cats beat DePaul


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Frigid Weather Proves no Obstacle as ‘Cats beat DePaul

Addison Drone

On a chilly Wednesday night in Chicago, Villanova extended its winning streak to nine games with an 86-74 victory over the DePaul Blue Demons. The Wildcats improved to 17-4 and remained undefeated in Big East play (8-0) while DePaul fell to 11-9. The Wildcats were led by captains Phil Booth and Eric Paschall who finished with 19 and 20 points, respectively. Villanova freshman forward Saddiq Bey also had a strong showing with 16 points and a career-high 11 rebounds.

Villanova rode a 40-36 lead into halftime after an Eli Cain buzzer-beater three pulled the Blue Demons within four. However, the ‘Cats came out hot to start the second half. On the first possession, Collin Gillespie drained a three-pointer, starting an 11-2 run for the Wildcats. After DePaul guard Max Strus (13 points, 4 assists) hit three free throws to trim the deficit to 10 with 12 minutes left to play, Phil Booth responded with a three-pointer off of a Collin Gillespie offensive rebound and assist. Villanova led comfortably for much of the second half until a late DePaul run capped by a Jaylen Butz (12 points) dunk made things interesting with an 81-74 score. Villanova was able to respond with a dunk by Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree and ultimately clinched the game with free throws from Phil Booth.

The keys to this game for the Wildcats were smart, aggressive play and hot long-range shooting. Villanova only committed three turnovers and dominated the offensive glass. They pulled down 14 offensive rebounds and extended many possessions with their hard work on the boards. Additionally, the Wildcats found much success beyond the arc, hitting 15 threes, including four makes a piece from Collin Gillespie and Saddiq Bey.

All in all, Villanova continues to gain momentum after their slow start to the season. Paschall and Booth are showing great leadership on the court and have built upon their strong performances in Big East play. The Wildcats, now ranked 14th in the nation by the AP Poll, are again in action on Sunday in a home matchup against Georgetown at the Wells Fargo Center. They will look to extend their win streak to 10 games and augment their lead in the Big East standings.