NCAA News Wire

Villanova 67, Butler 48

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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VILLANOVA, Pa. — With four and a half minutes to play, Villanova coach Jay Wright cleared his bench. A roaring applause ensued as the crowd cheered guard James Bell, who was one of three Wildcats seniors to be honored before the game.

By that point, the damage had been done.

It wasn’t pretty early, but the No. 8 Wildcats sent their seniors off the floor of the Pavilion for the final time in style, rolling to a 67-48 victory against the Butler Bulldogs.

The 48 points were Butler’s lowest total of the year, as Villanova held the Bulldogs to 30.6 percent shooting (15 of 49).

Villanova used a 21-3 run to push the score from 39-28 to 60-31 in the middle of the second half.

Five Wildcats scored during that 5:43 stretch, including a pair of 3-pointers on consecutive possessions by forward Kris Jenkins.

Bell and fellow guard Darrun Hilliard led a balanced Villanova attack with 11 points apiece. Forwards JayVaughn Pinkston and Josh Hart added eight points apiece. Hart collected a game-high eight rebounds.

Butler was led guard Kellen Dunham’s 12 points and seven rebounds. Forward Khyle Marshall added 10 points.

The first half started with poor shooting and turnovers from each side. Through the first 10 minutes, the teams were a combined 5 of 24 from the field and the score was just 10-6 in favor of Villanova.

From there, the Wildcats got hot. Villanova finished the half 10 of 28 from the floor after starting 2 of 12. Butler shot just 6 of 23 (26 percent) in the half.

The Wildcats got 3-pointers from Bell, Hilliard and guard Ryan Arcidiacono in the final 5:19 of the half. During that stretch, the Wildcats used a 16-9 run to finish with a 34-20 lead.

Dunham beat the first-half buzzer with a trey of his own. The 20 points were Butler’s lowest first-half output of the season.

NOTES: When these teams met on New Year’s Eve, Butler was 10-2 and riding a five-game winning streak. Since then, the Bulldogs are 2-13. … Wednesday was Butler’s first appearance at the Pavilion. The teams have met just three times overall, with Villanova leading the series 3-0. … Villanova G Ryan Arcidiacono was named to the Big East Honor Roll and was the Big 5 Player of the Week on Monday after his 16.5 ppg and 4.5 apg in two wins over Providence and St. John’s. … Wednesday was Senior Night for Villanova, its final home game at the Pavilion (Villanova’s remaining two home games will be at Wells Fargo Center). Gs Nick McMahon, Tony Chennault and James Bell were honored before the game.

Alan is an experienced writer of online betting and casino guides. He is one of the main editors of Basketballinsiders.

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