‘Nova Comes Up Short Against #1 Kansas


Courtesy of kusports.com

‘Nova Comes Up Short Against #! Kansas

Nick France

The Villanova Wildcats are arguably the most confusing team in the NCAA. On any given night, it seems like one of two teams can show up. So entering the game against the Jayhawks, it was fair to ask which team would be there: the young Wildcats who lost to Furman and Penn, or the defending champs who beat Oklahoma State and Florida State?

This Saturday, the Villanova Wildcats took on  Kansas Jayhawks in a highly-anticipated matchup at Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas had not lost at home as the #1 team since 1994, and this streak continued. While the game was close all throughout, the Wildcats failed to pull out a win against the nation’s top team, losing 74-71.

The first half began with Kansas taking a quick 8-1 lead out of the gate. However, Villanova would creep back into the game thanks to seven straight points from Eric Paschall, punctuated with a put-back dunk by freshman forward, Saddiq Bey. Bey would then score a three-pointer to continue a 12-0 Villanova run and make the score 13-8. The teams would trade blows until they both returned to the locker room with the score at 33-31 in favor of the Jayhawks.


The game would continue to be a close matchup in the second half. The half began with Eric Paschall scoring six points along with two from Phil Booth in the first 3:20 to give the Wildcats a 39-35 lead. The Wildcats would have multiple chances to take the lead late in the half, but bad shot selection by ‘Nova and good free throw shooting by the Jayhawks ultimately settled the final score at 74-71. 

Both teams were led by their upperclassmen leaders. Kansas’s Dedric Lawson, a junior, and LaGerald Vick, a senior, lead the Jayhawks with 26 and 29 points, respectively. This gave them 57 of Kansas’s total 74 points. Both of them were very efficient on the boards as well, picking up a combined 17 rebounds. Villanova, meanwhile, was led by Phil Booth and Eric Paschall. Booth finished with 29 points, albeit with an inefficient 4-11 performance from 3-point land. Paschall also put up 17 points to go with 4 rebounds. 

Villanova certainly played better today than we have seen them in games’ past. Even still, this is without a doubt a far cry from the team we saw beat a largely similar Kansas team in the Final Four last year. Outside of the obvious NBA departures, this team just plays differently. Shots are not as open and reliable. The tendency to make the “extra pass” we’ve seen in the past is often forgotten. Taking care of the ball on offense disappears at times. While this team is certainly talented enough to compete come March, there is the question of if they can put it together with Jay Wright’s coaching. Based off of today, the Wildcats look to be taking steps in the right direction.