Furman Hands ‘Nova Second Consecutive Loss


Courtesy of philly.com

Furman Hands ‘Nova Second Consecutive Loss

Billy Vinci

Coming off one of their worst losses in recent memory, the Villanova Wildcats were unable to rebound and fell to the Furman Paladins 76-68.

This was not a surprising outcome to Jay Wright, “Nothing more than we expected. We watched their game against Loyola Chicago, it was almost the exact same kind of game.”

This was the first time the Wildcats have lost back to back games since 2013, when they lost to Louisville in the Big East Tournament and North Carolina in the NCAA tournament. 

The Wildcats started off the game slow with five turnovers, three of which came from sophomore forward Jermaine Samuels. For the Paladins, freshmen Jordan Lyons, who hit 15 threes’ and scored 54 points in Furman’s last game, contributed a three to give Furman a quick 8-4 lead. 

 The Wildcats ended the game with 14 turnovers compared to 14 assists, of which Eric Paschall had five.

 Villanova responded, and late in the first half they went on a 10-0 run led by sophomores Collin Gillespie and Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree to take a 28-20 lead. The lead got as large as 10, but the Paladins responded. 

Cosby-Roundtree was one of the few bright spots for the Wildcats with six points, 11 rebounds, and five blocks. 

At the break, senior forward Matt Rafferty led the Paladins with nine points and eight rebounds, as Furman was able to cut the Wildcats halftime lead to just 36-31. Gillespie led Villanova with 10 points in the first half, while Cosby-Roundtree contributed six points, seven rebounds, and four blocks. The Wildcats struggled with eight first half turnovers but forced nine Furman giveaways. 

Rafferty was the player of the game for Furman as he ended with 15 points and 17 rebounds in 43 minutes. 

Wright was complementary of Furman, “We didn’t do a great job of executing when we were mismatched defensively, we just have to give them credit.”

Furman came out of the halftime break on a 7-0 run, and a runner by Jordan Lyons gave the Paladins a 38-36 lead with 16:35 left in the game, forcing head coach Jay Wright to call a timeout. A Gillespie three ended the run and gave the Wildcats the lead, but the teams continued to see-saw back and forth.

Villanova regained a 51-48 lead, but Furman responded with a 7-0 run to take the lead. The Wildcats struggled mightily to get anything going on offense, and at one point made only 2 of 12 field goals. Sophomore Alex Hunter hit a three for Furman and extended their lead to 58-53 with just over four minutes left. 

Joe Cremo responded with a three, Booth followed with a turnaround jumper, and a Gillespie layup gave the Wildcats the lead again at 60-58. Gillespie tried to draw a charge, but a block was called and Jordan Lyons hit two free throws to tie the game at 60. Rafferty had a chance to win it at the free throw line with just over two seconds left but missed, and the game went to overtime. 

in the extra period, Villanova took a 63-62 lead, but Furman went on a 9-0 run to take a 71-63 lead and ice the game. 

In the end, the Wildcats shot 33.8% from the field, and 14-44 (31.8%) from three. Booth led Villanova in scoring, with 20 points on 8-23 shooting and had five rebounds and four assists. Gillespie added 19 points and 4 rebounds on 4-7 shooting from three. 

The Villanova Wildcats are now 2-2 on the season and return to action on Thursday against Canisius as part of the AdvoCare Invitational in Florida.