Butler vs. No. 1 Villanova: Wildcats get revenge at home

Nate Fowler boxes out against DePaul opponents. The Butler men’s basketball team will host Georgetown on Feb. 13. Collegian file photo. 

DANA LEE | SPORTS EDITOR | delee1@butler.edu

Despite a hot start in Philadelphia, the Butler men’s basketball team fell to No. 1 Villanova, 86-75. The Bulldogs led by as many as 13 points early on before their lead slipped in the second half. After their second straight loss, the team’s record shifts to 17-9 overall and 7-6 in conference.

On the flip side, Villanova, who entered the game with a recent loss against a struggling St. John’s team, has not lost two consecutive games in five years. Unfortunately for Butler head coach LaVall Jordan, the trend was not about to be reversed today. Villanova trimmed Butler’s lead down to 38-35 at the half, and then dominated until the end.

Kelan Martin led with 17 points at the half for a game total of 30. The senior recorded a career-high eight 3-pointers. Martin had six against Xavier earlier this week.

Meanwhile, Kamar Baldwin followed with 25 points of his own. However, outside of Martin and Baldwin, the remaining Bulldogs were limited to single digit numbers. As a team, Butler shot well from the field at 56 percent compared to Villanova’s 47 percent.

Donte DiVincenzo evened the score at 40 with a 3-pointer in the second half. Then his free throw gave Villanova the lead and they never looked back. DiVincenzo collected 30 points while teammate Jalen Brunson had 27.

Butler narrowed the deficit down to four with less than three minutes remaining, but were ultimately unable to contest for a comeback.

Villanova shot 51 percent from the field while Butler had cooled down to finish at 44 percent. However, it was the differential in free throws that gave the Wildcats advantage. Villanova made 23 appearances at the line, converting all but three. The Bulldogs had just nine points off free throws.

Next, Butler hosts Georgetown on Feb. 13 at 6:30 p.m.

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