Men’s basketball outlasts Villanova in crazy double overtime win: Beyond the Box Score

Senior guard DJ Davis scored a season-high 28 points against Villanova. Photo by Elle Rotter.


In a double overtime 88-81 victory over the Villanova Wildcats, Butler led for a total of zero seconds in regulation time. 

It could not have been an uglier start for the Bulldogs, as they started the game down 11-0. In this stretch they were also outrebounded 11-1, so it was pretty much a one and done on the offensive side to begin the game. 

The Wildcats’ largest lead of the game was with 11:40 to play in the first half when the Dawgs were down 14. Butler fought their way back to a nine point deficit to end the half. 

Villanova’s lead stuck around 10 for the majority of the game, until senior guard DJ Davis got hot. The guard has been one of Butler’s leading shooters, but has been struggling to hit from far recently. Davis hit five three pointers in the last 7:30 of regulation to rally Butler back. Senior forward Jahmyl Telfort — who had arguably one of his best games as a Bulldog —  had the game-tying contested dunk to officially send the game to overtime. 

The first overtime was eerily similar to the end of regulation, and Butler had the ball with about 20 seconds on the clock, down two. This time Davis drove to the basket for a layup to tie the game. 

In a game where it felt like Butler could never get the lead, they got it with 45 seconds left in the second overtime. Up two, senior center Jalen Thomas made a huge defensive play to get the ball back with 30 seconds left. It was then a game of fouls, and Butler proved themselves at the line, going 8-8 —  sealing the game at 88-81. 

Davis and Nova redshirt senior forward Eric Dixon both led the game with 28 points. Telfort followed behind with a double-double, scoring 22 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. 

In a roller coaster double overtime win, let’s go beyond the box score. 

Never backing down 

This team was confident that they were winning this game even when they were down 14 and had not scored a basket. Telfort said that the team was all on the same page during the first timeout.

“I knew we were winning the game,” Telfort said. “Throughout the game, some plays happen and guys say stuff and you are like ‘Yeah, we got this one.’ You just have to go get it.”

If there is one thing we know about this team it is that they will not give up. They have shown fight in every Big East game — especially against their higher ranked opponents. 

How did the offense get going? 

When you get in such a big hole to start the game, like Butler did, it can be hard to fight back all the way. Coming from behind is a tiring effort and the Bulldogs did it for 40 minutes of regulation and two overtime periods.

With shooters like Davis and junior Pierre Brooks on the squad, sometimes the Dawgs get three point hungry. Head coach Thad Matta talked about the adjustments Butler had to make based on what Villanova was giving them at the time.

“We wanted to get the shots off that we wanted, not the ones that they wanted us to take,” Matta said. “They started long. They started harping on DJ. That was a big lineup out there [for Villanova]. Pierre had a three blocked in the first half … Usually half [of our team’s] shots are threes. They shot 29 from three and 72 from the field.” 

The Dawgs definitely found more success in the field, shooting 43.1% versus 31% from three, but when Butler needed more points quickly, Davis stepped up from behind the arc. 

What’s coming up? 

This huge win keeps Butler’s hopes alive, but the team needs to rest and reset with a big game coming up at the end of this week. Senior guard Posh Alexander appeared to be pretty beat up against the Wildcats, but still managed to put up 12 points, four assists and two steals. Hopefully five days of rest will help the guard get back to full strength. 

The Dawgs will travel to Omaha, Nebraska to take on No. 17 Creighton at 9 p.m. EST on Feb. 2. This is obviously a major test for Butler who has played their ranked opponents tough, but is 1-1 with their loss coming to No. 1 UConn. It would be huge to come out and show they can finish these tough games with a road upset. 


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